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


Embracing Willy Loman

He is very beautiful. He is tall, broad, erect, imposing. He walks slowly, with a stick, in a way I would almost call graceful- because it is unhurried, without stoop or apology. He speaks with sweetness and simplicity.

I am still writing about Wednesday. I tell you of that man because I sense the possibility of that perceived grace and simplicity in myself, and also the line about Willy Loman, strong willed fantasist, hurt me. I see myself in that too. You may recall that he wants to die, but is too cowardly to kill himself, so he crashes his car into a wall but too slowly, so that he is unhurt. I could look it up on wikipedia, but for how it affects me my memory may be more useful. His friend’s son pleads a case before the Supreme Court, his son does nothing, and he is going to be sacked as a salesman.

So, fantasist. I am the writer who writes nothing more than a blog, and fantasises about a film of my life, forsooth. I sent V a scene. Well, what do you do when someone you have never met before asks you a favour? You consider it. She emailed saying she would consider it. The problem is, I cannot see myself working at anything other than warehouse or supermarket work, on the one hand, and writing the thing I have hardly started on the other, not that I might make money out of it. Or just staying on the sick, for a moment which extends to months. Though that time has resulted in vastly increased self-acceptance.

And- strong will. It gets in the way for Lo-status folk. I was right to argue N— CAB should actually do what the funders of my post were paying them to do, except that I was too lowly to make that decision. It was not my decision. I should have just shut up. I got one DSS doctor sacked, but also got myself a great deal of grief complaining about another. He was a professional man, entitled to respect. My clients were benefit claimants, and I was little better.

Yet, fantasist. Imagination is the way human beings change things: we must first realise that something else is possible. Possibly I need new fantasies. I will keep up with the mindfulness and self-acceptance stuff, and hope other ideas beyond writing- rarely remunerative- and warehouse work occur.

And, strong will. It must have done me some good at some time. It might do me good if I could see how to use it. Being more conscious-

the idea is that accepting myself, I can see myself more clearly
so actually understand what I am doing and what my motivations are, rather than delude myself

some of this might do me some good…

FĂ©lix Valloton, le jambon


I met a woman I found very attractive, and flirted a bit, dropping my eyelashes. She’s rather more butch than average, obvs. As I passed her she murmured, “Nice frock”, and I shivered. We went for coffee. I noticed how many murals there are along Old Street. On the Youth centre, there’s one where two windows have been converted into shades for a huge face, and a history of the area in pictures. A little further on, there is the word “CREATE” in huge multicoloured letters, where she took a selfie of us. From the coffee shop, I looked out at this, mural

which took the energy of heraldry, and set it in motion. She’s a photographer.

-Do you want a picture from out there?
-Oh, you want it in context.

We probably won’t even fbfnd, but it was nice. I told a lot of my story, heard a little of hers. We formed into groups of four, and I looked at a woman’s insincere smile. As I stared, she kept simpering, and the eyes were not smiling. At the end of the workshop, she told me she had seen the contempt in my eyes, which brought out her placatory smile. I have rarely had such an instant, harmful reaction to another person like that, a vicious spiral. We hugged, but could have connected more.

Jacyntha is an unusual name, but I thought there were two there. There was the petite woman slumped at the end of the front row, and then there was the energised woman flirting at the bearded man. God she pissed me off. She came in late on Sunday, arranged her stuff, sat down, settled down, called out “Sorree, guys-” loudly and not quite winsomely. I of course had been there for half an hour, the good little girl ready early (As I walked the quiet Sunday streets, two geese overhead pair-bonded, flying slowly and honking) a little rueful, or possibly hugely resentful, that my Good obeying of the rules wins me no points at all. At least I realise it does not.

I should pick up some tips from Jacyntha. What a glorious animal way of being. I suppress sexuality and imagine I am not particularly highly sexed, and find sex difficult and embarrassing (yes, I know) and think of it disapprovingly. I saw again that advert for Las Vegas tourism and disapproved. What do you think? Well, they thought it quite funny, and meeting people is good. Yet on Sunday I enjoyed flirting.

It goes back to my first shame. I am feminine, yielding, and thought that completely Wrong. I felt the weight of it: I felt I was just a mass of shame and resentment. Clare said, “I think we all are”. Not as much as me, surely? Jamie, leading the workshop, said we are like a piece of paper screwed up into a ball, and at these workshops we unpick ourselves a bit- a metaphor I have long found meaningful- “and then show each other the creases”. Oh flip. Yes, I do. Compulsively. And the creases are not the interesting bit.

A woman married a Catholic, and when she was told of the church’s funny ways the group leader said she wanted her husband to have a vasectomy. My informer opposed this, saying she agreed with the church. No: you oppose the vasectomy because of self-determination, the church opposes it for self-abnegation. One has sex for ones spouse, for reproduction, for the church, for God, but never for pleasure or for self- which is the only reason for it.

coffee shop

The Radius of the Universe

There is a wonderfully confident girl sitting at the front of the bus. “You remember I got slapped, yeah? I got punched. Well the girl who did it had to go to hospital. Cos I don’t let anyone do anything.”

I think they are about twelve. The shorter one has black eyeliner painted out from the corner of the eyes and rosy blusher. She has not done her make-up well, but is practising, and will soon. She has a loud deep voice which made me fear they would mock my trans status until I realised that they are not interested in me. The taller one with a softer voice tries to join in but is mostly listening and learning. They look down on passers-by: that one is A’s boyfriend, no she dumped him.

The taller one has a problem with drafts at her window, and the shorter says she should board them up like her gran’s.
-I don’t want my windows boarded up.
-Well, you take them down during the day.

-OmiGod Miller? She had a toothache, she had a hole in that tooth there. She’s only three. No calpol. She took an energy drink and she said [mimicking higher, softer voice] Mummy, I don’t have a toothache any more.
You know what to do when she has a toothache, then. Give her an energy drink or pull her tooth out. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the dentist.

-I want to see the bus station blown up. [That was weeks ago.]
-Is this a one way system? [yes, it is.]
They are struggling to know about their world.

In Oliver’s, we have competition for the most erudite conversation- I heard no detail, but did hear a man at the next table mention TS Eliot. We win when Richard shows me the equations calculating the mass and size of the Universe:

MU =_______


13.8x109 light years.

So there you go.
Renoir, two girls in black

The reason why

With Tina Livingston, the best counsellor I have ever met, I went into a mild hypnotic state.

-My mother said that I was happy when my pram was under a tree, and I looked up at the sun through its leaves.
-What was that like?
-Let’s see.
I laid back on the couch, and was there. I felt rage, frustration, terror.

On the Hoffman process, we did exercises to let our unconscious speak directly, as if seeing visions. Supine, I reverted to babyhood. My mother looked down at me and said,
-I never wanted you.

These are not memories as one would understand them. They could be confabulation. As I went through my period of hatred and loathing of my mother, and then forgiveness- for she did her best, under difficult circumstances, like most ev’body- they were essential to my understanding of that relationship and of my development. I still think of them. I have needed them.

Why? is the child’s question. Parallel to coming to self-acceptance, I have been asking,

Why am I not as I ought to be?
Why do I not have what I ought to have?

So I have come up with reasons. My parents could not cope with my femininity, any more than my father’s, so denied it, so I denied and suppressed it and tried to be something I was not. And failed. Etcetera.

Why am I/ Why is my life this crap? Whose fault is it? It is the heart of negative thinking, though it has perhaps moved me towards self-acceptance.

Today I am born again. The premise of the question has ceased to apply.

I am who I ought to be
I am where I ought to be
I have what I ought to have

The need for the reasons falls away.

I have been depressed, and I went into Meeting yesterday in turmoil. I read QFP in an attempt to calm myself and be still. I read a quote,

Hitherto the Lord hath helped me

and it calmed me. It is true.

Charles Le Brun, Horatius on the Bridge

I was considering writing, “The next question is, what shall I do now?” Ah. That’s it.

I shall meditate.

Mustn’t grumble

I am depressed. It is odd: I do not feel sad, particularly, or any emotion one would think of as depressive, but I lack energy. I am sleeping more, doing less. I do not want to gather this up into a neat story, feeling it may have more integrity as a series of discrete observations, which may yet come to a conclusion.

Yesterday (Thursday) I thought, I need to get out in the sunshine. I need to feel my feelings. It was warm and sunny as I walked round the lakes, sweating a bit under my wig, a little stiff in the hip, and I wondered if I was enjoying it. I appreciate that it is good for me to have sunshine, exercise, and time in which my thoughts can be distracted, or feelings may come to the surface. On the bridge over the river, I admired a man’s lurcher, and he said he had seen a kingfisher there, several times. If he had had a camera he would have had a wonderful photograph. I express envy, I have not seen a kingfisher.

In the evening, I knelt, and paid attention to my breathing then affirmed myself. I feel calm. It is pleasant. It does not feel like suppressing emotions.

I feel lonely. It seems I am inauthentic, a hypocrite with everyone, attempting to appear sensible and reasonable, and I want to be seen. This may be a nagging doubt or a despairing scream not fully admitted because I do not see what I may do about it.

I thought about my reflex thought, that those girls would mock me, or that that woman held me in contempt. I wrote,

I hold myself in contempt. 
How may I stop?

It seemed I was projecting these feelings on others. That was the genesis of this post. That woman- well, it was a strange situation, I had spent the morning surrounded on three sides by police officers prepared for any action necessary to keep my transgression within bounds, and the place, with so many photographs of destruction…

I have tools to deal with this, such as thinking positively or reframing. I can notice when I am projecting in this way, and talk myself round. These are not new lessons: there are things I can do.

I do not like where I am…

Eugène Delacroix, Louis d'Orléans showing his mistress

Elinor and Marianne

Elinor good, Marianne bad?

When I read Sense and Sensibility in my twenties, that was clear. Elinor was sensible, Marianne merely ridiculous in her emotional responses. I had not heard of Sensibility, the 18th century concept of human responses to particular stimuli. Now, it seems that Elinor does not lack any of Marianne’s emotional responses, but tempers them with common sense, so that she is not too hurt by circumstance.

It is not just the relative maturity of girls of 19 and 16, but attitude and principle. [Marianne’s] violent oppression of spirits continued the whole evening. She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself. She believes that it is right to express what one feels, so feeds and encourages her violent sorrow as a duty. Also, she is responding to the immediate stimulus of Willoughby leaving;  she does not think, first, of what might the reason be, or what he might do next, which might console her: any consolation would be inauthentic.

Elinor is without affectation of any feelings but her own. They are introduced in the first chapter: Elinor, this eldest daughter, whose advice was so effectual, possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother, and enabled her frequently to counteract, to the advantage of them all, that eagerness of mind in Mrs Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence. She had an excellent heart;- her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong’ but she knew how to govern them: it was a knowledge which her mother had yet to learn; and which one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught.

Marianne’s abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor’s. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great.

Perhaps Elinor is unduly negative, as her mother accuses: You would rather take evil upon credit than good. You had rather look out for misery for Marianne, and guilt for poor Willoughby, than an apology for the latter. But to me she has the gift of thinking through and judging circumstance as well as forming an emotional reaction to her immediate perception, which would make her happier as well as wiser. So I thought that the author identified with this character.

I would find Marianne incomprehensible, had I not heard that she followed a fashion for heroines to exhibit such sensibility. She boasts her closed-mindedness: At my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed. It is not likely that I should now see or hear any thing to change them. The mind can close, so young- how horrible! When Edward Ferrars first visits the cottage, then leaves after a week, Elinor has a variety of feelings- tenderness, pity, approbation, censure, and doubt- produced by the varying states of her spirits, but always with consideration.

David, Portrait of Adélaide Pastoret

I do what I want

Gottfried Wilhelm Völcker, floral still lifeeven when it makes no sense to me.

Transition makes no sense. Twelve years on, I talk to people for a few minutes and they see me as trans. Perhaps not everyone, but most. I could appear normal, have educated white male privilege, except that I wanted to transition more than anything else in the world and could concentrate on nothing before that. “Tranny!” called out a hobbledehoy by St Mark’s church, shortly after. I went up to him.

“I do what I want. Can you say the same?” He had no answer to that.

And I wanted a vaginoplasty. It makes no sense. I have Darwinned myself. I would hate to lose a toe, but I have paid for that to be removed, because I wanted it.

I am still uncomfortable about doing what I want. I think things through and make sense, and what I want does not make sense so makes me uncomfortable and I still, after resisting, do what I want. I got lots of job interviews. I could write a good CV for advice work. Then I broke down in tears and stopped. I wanted to retreat, and I did, despite all my common sense. No, it is not sensible, but I wanted it. Without any self-respect, I wanted the best thing I could see to take care of myself.

Now, various courses of action make sense. What do I want? I would like certain goals in my life, they seem sensible, and so do not see wants. So what is sensible is to find out what I want. It is the only thing I will do, after all, I may start sensible things and feel increasing resistance and stop, in distress at my inner conflict.

I want to make my local Green Party more successful. I want to be a good AM clerk.

Now, my judgment gets in the way. These are not sufficient goals. What about earning money? How will I do that? Still, I want them. I am uncertain about other wants, and I have to live with that, whether grudging complaining and resisting or accepting. Accepting is easier. I feel a bit frightened about this- no, don’t diminish it, I feel frightened about this- but do not feel panicked into resisting.

I am writing to publish at my usual time of midnight GMT. I have no posts in reserve, none backed up for later publication. I have not yet written that post on Habakkuk which I could keep in reserve- fascinating book, Habakkuk, from about 2600BCE, well worth reading. I noticed a mixed metaphor after publishing today: making it a continual metaphor would lose no meaning and make it more powerful, but hey ho.

I want to write and perform a stage show. I want the same ideas in a film. When I say “I want” I am not nursing unacted desires, but observing what is deep in the spirit of me. “I have a purpose to” may be better.

Krishnamurti: The only way to avoid sorrow is…. to remain totally with sorrow without wanting to go beyond it.

Krishnamurti: I will try is the most dreadful statement one can make. (Yoda- do or not do. There is no try.)

Krishnamurti: Thought is the past living in the present, modifying itself and the present… only when the mind is uncluttered can the new come into being, and for this reason we say that thought must be still, operating only when it has to- objectively, efficiently.

Völcker Blumenstilleben butterfly