Madness and liberation

We live in a balance between desire and perceived possibility, conventionality and authenticity, “consumed by either fire or fire”. Trans folk, further from “Normal” than most, live this most intensely: for “Normal” means death for everyone, but most quickly for us.

I have been reading A Very Short Introduction to Michel Foucault by Gary Gutting. Because the ideas in it intersect so closely with my own concerns, I bring my own understanding of issues to it. It talks of Samuel Tuke, Quaker founder of The Retreat in York and pioneer of the treatment of mental illness. Where before, the mad were consigned to Bedlam where gawkers paid to laugh at them, or allowed to exist in their home villages, objects of charity, Tuke (according to that book quoting Foucault) made the madman (sic) feel morally responsible for everything in him that may disturb morality and society, and must hold no-one but himself responsible. When the madman attends a tea-party and pretends to be normal, Tuke sees this as humanitarian, and Foucault (through the prisms of Gutting then of me) sees it as imprison[ment] in a moral world.

Being mad myself-

well of course! Wanting gonads, uteruses, breasts, facial hair, bits of the skull, etc removed is ridiculous! Seeing myself as female, while the only evidence that I am female is my own conviction makes no sense! It is clearly, objectively, damaging, and it is only because British society has collectively said “Oh, OK, then, if that’s what you want go ahead” that four thousand of us have been given Gender Recognition Certificates and more are living “in role”. Possibly, the Emperor has no clothes…

Being mad, myself, I could not bear imprisonment in a moral world which rejected my madness. I am Abigail. Having had those bits removed, I am freed to be my beautiful, wonderful self, loving, empathising, entertaining, living. It makes no sense. It is mad. But somehow it goes together. I cannot be this person, presenting male. Why Not? asks the sane, rational person, and I have no sane, rational answer.

Having no knowledge of it at all, obsessive-compulsive disorder seems to me to be a necessary escape from reality. I start counting the bricks in that wall with the need to make the total a multiple of six, or twelve, or twenty-four, and get absorbed, and forget all the shit. I get my pleasure- It Works!- or desired pain- no, that’s an odd number, a prime number, count again-

an assertion of my right to work no more than I can bear, in the only way I could (if I presented with OCD).

Hearing voices- well, what do they say? How do I respond? Possibly, the solution might not be only, take them away.

Because when it is obvious that the sun goes round the Earth, the assertion otherwise is mad. The new paradigm which will be obvious, tomorrow, today is mad.

Because groping towards the beauty and wonder that is me, free, started with the decision that the most important thing in my life was transition. VR Anticipation

Why I write

vr-elegant_lady_in_pinkWhy do I blog? Having got to know myself, a little, I would like to get to know others. Explaining to you helps me get my thoughts in order. I want my blog to be Beautiful, so have lots of pictures.

What delights me? Doing something which appears worthwhile or constructive. Being creative, either in writing or finding new ways of achieving something.

Getting to know myself was difficult enough, and I may not have managed it. When I started two years ago, I claimed to have Pupated. I had taken a step forward, but not such a large one. Twenty years ago I imagined myself male, intellectual rather than emotional, and had no idea what made me happy or what I wanted to avoid. I had this strange desire to dress female, so had aversion therapy. Eleven years ago, I transitioned to expressing myself female all the time: and felt a great deal happier.

It seemed that the way to make decisions was to work things out, rationally and intellectually. So I made my decision to transition rationally, then saw a psychiatrist who took away all my rationalisations. All I had left was my feeling. This was intensely painful and liberating. Then it seemed that because I rationalised everything, so must everyone else, and submerged emotional responses controlled everyone. Now it seems that some people may emphasise head over heart by inclination and nature, and fit the Enlightenment understanding of how best to make decisions. How could I ever communicate with someone so alien? A sufficient intellectual understanding may even look like empathy. Yes I can understand others by my own experience, but need to challenge my first imaginings.

With a post for every day since August 2011, I have made my journey of self-acceptance- being LGBT is OK, autogynephilia is an illusion- sounded off about things which interested me- flooding in North Carolina, Marcel Proust, karate – and described some encounters with the perplexing bipeds I meet.

I want to stretch my writing, with new subjects and new ways of expressing ideas. I have a new tag line-

Everything is Beautiful

because seeing that beauty is Necessary.

I am following the WordPress zerotohero challenge.

Vittorio Reggianini

Kitsch! Cloying sentimentality! Ridiculous, silly images with an attention to detail on the dresses, especially the fabrics, which may indicate Crossdreaming tendencies. There is normally a glimpse of stocking. However much the serious, high-brow part of me disapproves, I love it.

She has dropped her book. How sweet!

VR The interruption

Even where there is a man, his fabrics are so girly, his attention so foppish-


We see the woman with her Good Companion from a dog’s eye view:

VR Good companion

He lived from 1858-1938, but all these dresses are Empire-line, fashionable in the 1800s and 1810s. Also, sleeves changed after that. He is painting nostalgia even then.

VR 2

Women drape over each other in such a relaxed fashion

VR 2

Here, too-

VR Women reading a letter on a couch

And especially here

VR tempting-cupid

This man looks suspicious:


If it is kitsch, it is especially good kitsch, I waffle, seeking a reason for liking it. For someone who specialises in painting people, his range of facial expressions is limited. And- I just like it!

If you liked these paintings, you may also like Giovanni Boldini.

VR An_Amusing_Song VR Anticipation VR Elegant_Figures_In_An_Interior VR Elegant_Lady_in_Pink VR Surprise VR The Answer VR The Coquette 2 VR The feathered friend VR The fish VR The pearl necklace VR The_Piano_Recital VR The_Poetry_Reading VR woman with dog vittorio-reggianini1 VR a poetry reading VR A secret invitation VR A Young Beauty VR An Idyllic Afternoon

VR La Collezionista Di Stampe

A musical interlude

VR Seduction
VR Laudanum
National collection

Comment policy II

Something is wrong on the Internet

Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 2Why is blogging addictive? I am desolate to see Violet joining Bloggers Anonymous, but as she says, will I have a shower or rant at this wrong person, will I go for a walk or lurk on this blog, will I have nap or check my reader? Blog wins at every turn – I smell and am very tired…

I went from there to put a comment on a blog saying homosexuality is sin. The usual stuff: you quote Leviticus, do you really want us dead; on the Pastoral Epistles, what do you think of Cretans? Golly, it makes the endorphins flow. My righteous indignation rears up at this poor silly woman who mouths the brain-rot she has been fed since childhood. Ha. That’s her told.

It is far more difficult to comment on Freya. She writes worthwhile things here, and I want to reciprocate. How can I say something intelligent to someone I admire? Far easier to mock homophobes.

My colleague nearly got sacked for her compulsive use of facebook, Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 1which I got sniffy at, not using facebook at the time. She was redundant in the next round of funding cuts. Now I use facebook, and see all these videos. This one, for example, shared by two friends: it is moving, it makes a necessary point well, and it gives me a shiver of distaste at the World, without either arming or motivating me to do anything about it. That and the documentary on factories in Bangladesh make me miserable- too strong meat for addiction.

I am sorry that spEak you’re bRanes is defunct. While the comments it mocked were badly expressed, and stated opinions I found repulsive, for the most part, it was mocking what I do: expressing anger into the ether, then excitedly clicking to see if there is a response. I do real human interactions with people I will see again, needing frontal lobe activity, and I do angry or mocking billets aigre to homophobes in Texas, giving instant satisfaction with minimal cost. It is obvious which I prefer, and why,

So, I sit myself down for a serious chat. By all means seek to establish internet relationships with attractive and intelligent people, but stop ranting. If my forefinger is sore from friction burns on the mouse-pad of my lap-top (a moment’s googling taught me a new word- it is a “touchpad”) then I spend too much time with it. For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the Universe- worrying about problems I cannot solve is a seductive distraction from the problems I must address. Yes, recently in one day I got seven times the page views of two days previously for some reason, but checking the stats page several times a day does no good.

I probably won’t work this blog up to a huge circulation by commenting, or liking, and certainly not following. I have no idea how many of my 592 followers get my posts by email.

File:John Martin Le Pandemonium Louvre.JPG

Comment policy

/.jpg/476px-Vittorio_Reggianini_Eavesdropping.jpgWhat do you want from comments?

I want to enjoy blogging. It most interests me when it is a dialogue, responding to what someone writes. Comments, generally, please me.

I have some fun with nutcase Christian blogs. When they say that God abominates gay people, I tell them to repent. Here is a man who says women should not be police officers because that is far too manly a role for women, and therefore it goes against God’s design. My comment that he is a fuckwit got through. Other comments are more BDSM than Christian. So what if he commented here? Should I reciprocate his publishing my comment?

No. I might let through one, if it showed quite how appalling he is, but I do not want that level of stupidity here. I am psyching myself up, really. Usually I want to be Nice, but why be nice to someone like that?

It is only not “My blog my rules” because there are no rules. What I don’t like may be trashed. If there is some meeting of minds, I might engage in argument, until it bores me. I find the bee in Spookchristian’s bonnet, that the Pope is the Antichrist, equally repellent and ridiculous. I let his comments through for a bit, because his coming here after I insulted him and saying things like “hope you forgive me” is pitiable, but he adds nothing here.

I welcome disagreement, especially if amusingly expressed.

File:Reggianini Frau mit Kätzchen.jpg

And feel free to tell me how wonderful I am.

The basic comment policy is, don’t piss me off. It has to really piss me off- one woman escalated, and had to call me “you sick fuck” before I trashed her comment- but I can’t, at the moment, put in words what might and might not piss me off, even with the standard disclaimer “my decision is final”.

Here is a sample comment policy. The owner of this blog reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog without notice. This comment policy is subject to change at any time.  Well, yes, and it should not need saying. But I won’t necessarily delete profanity, or personal attacks, if I find them witty, or enjoy insulting the commenter. I cannot draft all the exceptions. But I won’t edit comments, unless followed immediately by another saying there is a mis-type: I may correct mis-types, but editing the comment offends me.

The Catholic News Service tells us to be positive: Just stick to the issue being discussed and leave out the personalities. Back up your argument, telling why you disagree instead of saying that someone’s suggestion is stupid. Remember, Jesus had strong views, but he didn’t tear us down to illustrate his points or bring us salvation. I searched that blog for gay marriage, and found an article so anodyne– some people are against it, some people are for- that it attracted no comments at all, or comments so insulting, foul or spammy that they could not get through.