Grace Anarchy

It has been a long journey for me, away from my self-hatred and contempt. In the war within myself, religion has been on both sides. I love this:

It’s like we Christians love the idea of grace, but we don’t want it distributed indiscriminately- we want make rules about it and dole it out carefully and strategically. It’s like we’re worried that if everybody knows that she’s loved and accepted by God – it will be Grace Anarchy! I want that. I want Grace Anarchy. I want people to be free to be who they are. It makes sense to me that the free-er people are, the BETTER people are. I believe in people because I believe in God. I think God knew what God was doing when God made each of us.

Peter, who is over ninety, does not understand me. He asked me once whether F, who is lesbian and butch, was a man or a woman. I confuse him by arriving at the Quaker meeting in a cycle helmet then appearing later in my wig. Once, when I was overheated and he saw me without my helmet he thought I was a man. I was irritated. I thought, I do not want to explain to Peter. I could ask someone else to explain to him. So he came up to me, again, this morning, and said “I thought you were two people”. I told him I wear a wig, and took it off to show him. I did not start on being trans. Maybe later. Ernest, who is over ninety and nearly blind, mistakes my voice for a man’s.

It was much easier than I had feared. Just because he does not understand, does not mean he condemns. It has seemed to me he lives among so much that he does not understand, and I took that as an important lesson to keep as flexible in thought as I can, hearing the world view of the next generations: because I will still be around when the world is theirs.

My trust levels are low. I need to practise trust. It is alright. As I accept and trust others, I am freed. I could almost be glad that Peter asks: he is my example.

My friend confessed a compulsive obsession to me. I am so glad to hear it: it shows she trusts me. I am glad to be trustworthy.

Just for bloggers: I always use the useful editor, rather than the beep-boop, because the beep-boop does not always record posts, and is generally horrible. With The Penguin’s script, you can too. All links will go to the useable editor, rather than the beep-boop. WordPress is generally user-friendly, so its pointless, arrogant attack on its users irked me.

Eugénie Salanson-Marquise de Croix

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.

????????

Acceptance XLVI

I cannot accept the world unless I accept myself.

Having retreated from the world, little affects me. That was why I did it. I was befuddled and frustrated by work, so I gave up. Liz volunteers in a place with paid workers. She hears them complain about changes to their working patterns, and wishes they could just accept those changes. They might even embrace and enjoy those particular changes as Liz would- they involve working with children.

A change to my experience of WordPress angered and frightened me. Does that seem an extreme reaction? Well, I feel my anger was proportionate, of short duration. I started fearful thought of how it could presage further, even worse changes, and then started thinking of how I could cope with those changes.

As I felt my anger and fear, in the moment after the first stimulus of them, I judged myself. Anger and fear is a totally disproportionate reaction, I told myself sternly. (No wonder you can’t go out sometimes.) Whereas I can cope with changes to routine, if I gently explain them to myself. Part of my (over) reaction is bad experiences of change in the past.

First, I must accept my own reaction. It too will pass.

 ♥♥♥

My childhood way of Acceptance gets in the way. It was to suppress anger and fear and Get On With It. Mother Unhappy! Danger! Work out what she wants immediately and do it. However I felt about that in the moment would get in the way, then. My anger and fear made her unhappy and stopped me thinking through the right response. So I feared my anger and fear, which made my experience of them more painful.

In childhood that did the job. Now I have suppressed feeling too long and cannot suppress any more; and my feelings are a useful tool for perception. I know the current state is not eternal: these feelings and state of unknowing will pass. (I just have to realise that, in the moment.)

Chronic stress happens when stressors come along too quickly to deal with one before feeling the next. That was my experience most of the time I was working.

I feel there is a lesson here, and I want to be able to articulate it. Part of it is in my first sentence. If I accept how I react emotionally and trust the process, remembering such lessons as “This too shall pass”, I will be happier and better able to deal with the stressor.

Evelyn de Morgan, Cassandra

Trust IV

Cesar Boetius van Everdingen Trompe l'oeil with a bust of VenusCreationism debates led me to biostratigraphy, the science of dating strata according to the life-forms fossilised therein, and particularly biostratigraphy from trilobites. Consider all that wonderful detail! There are ten separate Orders of trilobite- an Order is divided into family, genus, species- and 20,000 identified species over 291m years. Not everything is clear: 54m years after trilobites first appeared, the order Phacopeda appeared, and in 2009 when that page was last updated it was unknown from where. Perhaps it still is. From the wee drawings, my Ordovician trilobite looks like a Proetida, of the order which survived into the Permian.

Tim’s answer was that the strata were laid down by the Flood, and dating strata by species and species by strata is a circular argument. Well, the same species in strata a thousand miles apart indicates a similar age, and radiometric dating from one might be repeated for confirmation, but need not be. A series of strata may be upside-down because of metamorphic folding or whatever, but this does not refute the basic idea. If the strata were laid down in the Flood, I would expect the Orders to be far more higgledy-piggledy, and theories why one species was better adapted than another to be more difficult to sustain.

Everdingen, LucretiaNo, I had no belief in Creationism before, but now I have a Refutation I am entirely happy with. I imagine a conversation:

-Creationism!
TRILOBITE BIOSTRATIGRAPHY!!!!
And I do a Happy-dance, because I have won, beyond all possible doubt. At least in my own mind. Or I say, Look at this! Isn’t it fascinating! Isn’t it beautiful! And am surprised when others don’t see it the same way.

Yet there are still scientists who are creationists, and intelligent non-scientists. Those scientists produce arguments to convince lay-people that Creationism works, such as the spurious distinction between observational science and historical science- all those trilobite fossils have been observed, measured, Everdingen, four muses and Pegasus on Parnassuscategorized- and possibly they do this with the conscious intention to deceive, for the greater good of preserving a view of the Bible as literally true, inspired and inerrant; and possibly they do this because the Bible is inerrant, and therefore the evidence cannot indicate anything else. I don’t like to think of them deliberately lying, but it is possible.

With my high intelligence, I still hope to work things all out so that I can understand. Yet I see everything through a glass darkly, and Creationists assert their views, and conservative Christians and trans-excluding “radical” “feminists” alike say transsexualism is wicked and perverted and sick and dangerous and wrong and completely stupid and a sign that the person is damaged and SHOULD BE CAST OUT

-sorry about the shouting. I have retreated to my living room because in my experience the world outside is scary and bad things happen and I get really hurt. This shows I must be wrong about something. If you assess people’s assertions by the success they have made in the world, you weigh me lightly.

To go back to an old, clichéd phrase, I might have light enough for one step. I might trust my intelligence and instincts enough for that.

Trust III

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3c/August_Macke_045.jpg/454px-August_Macke_045.jpgWe learn to walk by falling over, and we continue to walk by falling: I fall forward and catch myself with my other leg. I trust myself, and I trust the world. Walking on ice, you might fall. You put your foot forward, your heel skites away from under you, and your backside hits the ground. So, to be safe walking on ice, or wet mud, you can walk like a penguin: the leg going forward is placed down vertically.

The other leg has to push your weight forward, abnormally, so this will develop your calf muscles unless you are a habitual cyclist. You will look funny, shuffling forward, though it is more humiliating to cowp over.

In the park, I met some pensioners with Nordic walking sticks: two sticks like ski-poles, with changeable rubber or pointy tips for grass or asphalt. You push yourself forward, left arm with right foot. Since taking them up, one has not had knee or ankle problems, and it is a workout for the upper body as well as the legs. They walk a little faster than normal, in what their tutor calls “first gear”- there are different techniques which can go faster. The sticks have straps for the wrist, and a woman offers me her sticks and straps them on my wrists. In one technique she has not yet mastered, you throw away the stick then grab the handle again. Quickly I get the basics of first gear, after a moment thinking which arm goes with which leg. I would improve with practice and as much tuition as I could open myself to.

Mmm. That is, I stopped them and asked, and they were happy to talk about their sticks. And- I cower like a beaten dog, expecting a cuff or a kick not a stroke, from anyone.

That fall, which stops me from walking on ice though I walked so far on ice unscathed, looms so large in my mind, because every failure is a disaster, showing I am worthless. So. Cognitive Behavioural techniques. That was unrequited love, and that was a battle, and then I was right and they were wrong but they still had all the power, and- on the news I read of government (and opposition) by fools, and bribery and corruption, and-

I actually experience pleasant decency from people. Dwell on that. And, there are other times when I have made a mistake, and my world has not come crashing down. I am still alive. There is good to see. Think on these things.

I find I wrote a year ago on trust, in much the same way, slightly more optimistically. Mmm. If you spend enough time here, it all comes round again, and for a “Spiritual growth” blog you might crave a wheen more growth. Um. I want it to be easy. I know how difficult it is.

August_Macke_045

I need to trust

bee 2The exercise was to draw, with a stick in ink, and to “follow a line”; then to write about ones spiritual journey. One possible method was to make an acrostic from the word “Pilgrimage”. Not happy with my place, now, I wrote about it disjointedly, then made my Pilgrimage picture. Microsoft Paint followed its program, and I did not fully understand the commands I was giving it.

Then we were to worship-share about the experience. Oh god do we have to? I had shrunk my picture, having thought I was simply shrinking the view of it, and I grew it again, making it pixellated. I noticed the colours down the sides of the letters, when I expanded it again.

So I spoke. I need to trust- myself and the world. I showed off my picture. I need to hate: I have imagined myself growing, spiritually, for fourteen years, and what I wanted from that was not to feel uncomfortable emotions. And- there are no bad emotions. I need to hate, I need to feel and express my anger. I need to Hate.

I spoke, and Mark caught my eye. His- is it expressionlessness?- I took as a slight smile. After, we talked.

Robin 1-Could you explain that again?
-I- found love and respect for- I would have said “forgave” but that implies something to forgive- my mother, after descending into my anger with her, my sense of betrayal and cruelty, my hatred. She did her best under difficult circumstances. She did not understand. I want to move from that lesson, to hate the World- so that I might Accept, rather than merely tolerate it.

-I’m not sure I understand.
-Then I don’t think I can explain it.

That’s new. I have wanted to explain, because if I can make sense to someone else, then what I think might have some value- but at that moment it made sense to me, and that was enough.

robin 2-I thought you had understood. You caught my eye.
-Oh, I did that to everyone after they spoke.

-I know so little about you! I could project anything onto you, and imagine it was you I was seeing, rather than myself. Oh, we make pictures. But, rather than having three disjointed pieces of the jigsaw and imagining the whole picture from them, I want to see those pieces, and not be too attached to how they fit into the larger picture. Yet we give so much value to first impressions.

-Who do you mean by we?
-The human race.

-We are clinging less to our preconceptions. We are getting lighter, said F. She meant the human race, too. I agree, but S does not. He does not like people speaking for him. F left, perhaps discomfited.

Over dinner, L passed me the cheese board, then when I put my hand out withdrew. As I told her, yes, it did hurt- but that is part of the ordinary frictions of human coexistence.

Moving on

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Brooklyn_Museum_-_New_Year%27s_Days_of_the_Teahouse_Ogi-ya_-_Katsushika_Hokusai.jpgLightning does strike in the same place. Repeatedly, in fact: on the Empire State Building, for example; but it has a lightning conductor, so that is alright.

-How would you like to end?
-With a neat conclusion, boxed to put away and tied with a neat bow.
-OK, then.
Gosh, I like that response. Taking my cynicism and batting it back at me as a challenge. And it is possible.

It really is time to move on. While that Quaker stramash (or stooshie, it is telling that Scots has so many words for a fight) was uniquely ghastly, and while there has always been something to bring my mind back to it- the long grind to my Minute of Disunity, then my appeal, then H’s Disownment, then her appeal heard last week, meeting after meeting anticipated, suffered and relived- it is over. There is nothing more I can do about it, and indeed while I would not be going to a Quaker meeting if I were still in South Wales, I can now talk to those involved with a moderate degree of friendliness, and work with them, and I am supported and contributing in a Quaker meeting which delights me now.

I thought I was safe, with Quakers, if under threat everywhere else, and I was not. I am not safe anywhere- though I am moderately capable, so I can, mostly, look after myself.

-Do you think you overanalyse?
-No.
If I cannot trust my feelings, I have to make decisions somehow.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b9/Katsushika_Hokusai_-_Yoshitsune_Falls%2C_from_the_series_Famous_Waterfalls_in_Various_Provinces_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/726px-Katsushika_Hokusai_-_Yoshitsune_Falls%2C_from_the_series_Famous_Waterfalls_in_Various_Provinces_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgThe question is, how likely is it to happen again? Not, particularly. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats: I know more of myself, it was a bad situation- a clusterfuck, actually, everything going wrong at once. It really is better to spend time searching out opportunities than threats, but I do not think it is likely to happen again, and if it did I could handle it better.

I was hurt because I would not back down- but I won my appeal, and had I backed down I might be whining now about people walking over me.

Actually I would rather be right than happy: happiness seems merely tantalising.

I have the tools to deal with this. I need to look around now, at the opportunities now. It hurt, a lot. I trusted and I was dumbfounded. It really is unlikely to happen again. That is what matters.

Emotional being? Hello?
-I’m frightened.
It really is alright. It is not going to happen again. The tiniest likelihood of the greatest pain may seem a terrible risk, but the likelihood is so, so tiny-
-Why did it happen, then?
-The really most awful luck.
EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT!
-They’re not. Really, really, they’re not, and that has to be in part a rational rather than emotional decision.

O God, how can I practise trust?

And- I have always thought it was my good qualities which led me into that confrontation. I could break that down, and analyse that- but just as you can’t please anyone, so different ways of being work with different people.

Uses of Memory

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Rossetti_girlhood.jpgThe train left the platform, slid into the tunnel, and stopped. The lights went off. There is only the ghostly light of laptop and smartphone screens. Irritating. Philip and I have said all we have to say to each other, or all we can say, and we are silent. As the minutes tick on, I realise I will have to go straight to Kings Cross rather than get out further South and walk the streets. I had wanted to walk through the British Museum, its glass-roofed central court captivated me. Still does.

-Why have we stopped?
-Probably a suicide, jumped in front of a train.
And I feel such resentment. Selfish bitch. What are tall buildings for?

Smart-phones? Surely not, not in a tunnel, though people could be looking at old texts and photos. Oh yes, it was a year or two before they came out. Not smartphones, just lap-tops. And- did we decide suicide was the likely explanation, or hear about it after? And did we make conversation, or have That Conversation which breached our friendship finally, then? I am quite clear that I had wanted to walk through the museum, though from what I understand about memory that could be an addition coming into my mind later. Like in the song.

If I can unconsciously reconstruct a memory, and remember it differently from how it was- spoken testimony is among the least reliable of evidence- then, can I make it different, on purpose? I have met fantasists and liars, creating mythical worlds in their history or other lives, but this would be consciously for the purpose of contemplating reality and myself rather than deceiving anyone.

-I felt such resentment.
-I felt such sympathy, and prayed for her. I am sure she was female, whether or not we realised it was suicide at the time, or heard it later, or indeed there was some other explanation.
-(Oh no, she’s going to say it-) “Probably a bit of both”. Depending on which is most acceptable to hold in consciousness, what is swirling about underneath.

Someone asked about coming of age, and I thought of that Menarche ceremony. Then I thought of how F had worked so hard to prevent me taking part among the adult women that I had gone off and sat by our camp fire. Resentment. And- can I concentrate on other parts of that memory? The Resentment swam into my mind, seemed the most important part of it. I heard of an NLP technique- view an unpleasant memory as a small monochrome image, but good memories full of detail and colour. I have no mind’s eye, but the principle holds- remember other parts, give them prominence. That walk in the sunshine with S, perhaps, or the discussion with the other queers about exclusion- all the acceptance I had-

Can I change my frightened hiding, my rejection of the world, into joyous acceptance? Can I by vibrating see opportunities and possibilities, and grasp them? Or will that happen through healing if I just let it and do not try to force it?

Trust II

It becomes clearer to me how much I may trust my world.

That man with the big dog, f’rinstance- lovely bloke. One might consider how much to trust other men with similar dogs, but- he was alright. And the blessedness of the encounter delights me: it was random, and it was just what was right for me at the time. A synchronicity.

Or the karate class, how supportive and friendly it is, and how it exercises me physically and spiritually.

I try to create empathetic understanding for born-again Christians in me. They are entirely wrong about the date of creation, evolution, and LGBT issues, and substantially wrong about God, the Bible, Jesus, the world, the spiritual realm and other things. Yet they have strong community and a desire to do Good, they value the instruction to Love and they feel Loved by God. It is not my path, and I can see value in it.

My world is so beautiful. The park, the birds, my flat, my estate, my village, the towns-

the people

And it becomes clearer to me how much I may trust myself. From “I can’t do X” I move to “I can’t do X yet”: I relinquish the need to be perfect immediately, and accept the possibility of learning and improving. Saturday 26th in karate we advanced in pigeon-toed stance. The knees are bent, the toes point inwards, and the leg and torso muscles are tensed. The inside of both great toes goes white as I push my feet outwards on the floor. In stepping forward, one relaxes the muscles, moves, then tenses again. I noticed how easy it is to tense, and how difficult to relax again. How wonderful, to be able just to let the tension go, in an instant!

In Meeting the next day I noticed how tense I am,  particularly my upper back, and thought of relaxing that and letting it go. This is a skill I can learn. Then in my ritual space this morning (Monday 28th) I felt that tension and accepted it. It is how I am now. It is OK. I might like to be less tense, I might develop relaxation skills, I may make things better from a place which is sufficient for now.

That is OK, and- I move to noticing my breath. That is beautiful and amazing. The most quotidian thing, and so perfect, for giving Life and for communicating.

I am sensitive

and I have seen that as a problem or weakness, and I have denied it. As I accept it, it ceases to be weakness, and I learn how to be with it.

PS: after scheduling this post, I have a reminder of that on facebook, and I tense- that experience is over, though the processing of it is not, and I want to be over it. Honestly. Lust, admiration, envy, fear, resentment- clusterfuck or omnishambles of emotion, entwined with learnings of myself which I have denied then resented and feared, and which now perplex me-

I want to be over it.

Even this is bearable.

Anchorite

If I am to trust my instincts, the Collective Unconscious, and my unconscious self,
so that as my body picks the muscles necessary for a task,
so also my Highest Self crafts my responses in a situation,
then I must respond out of Love and not Fear, Love which includes Trust.
Love for that Highest Self. Love for others as myself.
Perfect Love driveth out all fear.

Cos I’m terrified. I really am. All that checking, all that obsessive
checking, past, present and future, all that rumination of the Monkey mind
constantly stressed, reliving the stress, looking for reasons to fear,
collecting them, hoarding them, examining them, picking over them-
Old Fear, current Fear-

The answer is God, that is, Love.
And- this is not nice, this is not sweet

I want to scream,
I Hate you All
Fuck off, and Die

and still be accepted.
So I have to do the accepting.
I still have to do the accepting.

Or, how about this?
I want to be free to- scream “fuck off and die”, whatever
if I need to, if I choose to, and not be seeking acceptance.
To choose whatever and accept any bad consequences for the benefit I gain.
That is what I imagine I might gain from self-acceptance.

This is the mechanism. I feel anger or fear caused by an external stimulus.
I then feel anger and fear that I have that feeling. I am afraid of my own feeling.
Then, because the feelings are so unbearable, I shut down my awareness of them.
I need to accept all these painful feelings,
accept my own emotional being and my reactions to reality.
Then my feelings will work for me. Then my self-protection will protect me.
Seeing this, and working on it, is worth the time I spend on it.

How might I look when I have done this work? I don’t know.
My speculation on that, insofar as it is inaccurate, is a barrier to the work.
I need to accept and trust the result.
_______________

I love Danielle LaPorte’s “Inspiration driven questions”:

The fear-driven questions of human interaction…

What will they think of me? I better do what will make me look good.
What do they expect of me? I better give them what they want, when they want it.
What can I get from them? I better be clever to get what I want.

Liberation-driven questions:

Is this moving me forward?
Do I feel more like myself?
Does this feel expansive or contracting?
How can I be generous here?