Trust VI

I weep watching Youtube, and resent The Guardian, who made the video. It is such a cheap trick- will the couple split, or will their relationship and their understanding of themselves and each other mature and develop?

I love the subtlety and vulnerability of it, turning a political stance into a human reaction, putting Remain v Leave into a human relationship, and after weeping I hate it for a cheap will-they-won’t-they trick. I resent it.

I was weeping at Star Trek: Voyager the other day. In a moment of confusion, unable to believe what she admires and loves could be so monstrous, a character commits a betrayal she regrets for decades after. The set-up is so well done that the betrayal is accomplished with a change of facial expression and a meaningful look in a particular direction.

As I write, I still feel weepy after “Go Home”. I want to persuade you that Voyager could be worth watching, and worth crying over. Or myself. I am persuaded, actually, it was a striking story well told. And I resent crying at “Go Home”, the will-they-won’t-they and the resolution to it.

I resent the Guardian for making me cry, and I resent myself for being so soft that I cry at that. And I resent my washed out feeling two hours later. It is my own stupid fault, of course, for transitioning and fouling up my endocrine system.

(Never mind that transition was my route to freedom and self-acceptance. It is still my fault.)

You know that Sunday evening feeling? Oh God, I have to go to work tomorrow. Under stress, that expanded for me, so that on Friday evening I was thinking It’s the Weekend!- but I’ll have to go to work on Monday. I felt trapped. So, what? That was 25 years ago. I am- useless? Mentally ill? Traumatised? -for ruminating on that now.

Not useless. I am never useless.

I don’t trust, and the Tory-controlled Bureaucracy may take away my income because I am not doing enough to find work which I don’t want and can’t imagine doing or finding bearable. So the answer is of course a leap of faith, trusting in myself and the world to go once more into the breach except that the last time in the breach was pretty ghastly.

Should I cycle to Swanston to shop? I consult my unconscious by deliberately bringing myself into the Moment- touch that surface, bring the senses alive, and Know what I decide to do. Oddly enough, this time the conscious brain is saying that I do not need to, I have enough food in today, and the unconscious decides to go. It was lovely cycling in light rain, which cooled me as the warm air warmed me, lovely and comfortable.

Integrating the self

I have not spoken to my counsellor for over a month, so have a lot of material to work with. I tell her of my dispute with Quakers, lunch with my friend, my holiday.

-I did a little light bullying.
-I don’t think anyone has ever said something like that to me. “How was your holiday?” “Oh, I did a little light bullying.”

I worked quite hard to make sure my friend had as good a holiday as possible, and when I could not find a way threw my weight around to make sure I got what I wanted from it. In particular I was not going to do boring things because conventionally they are supposed to be fun, especially as my companions had such limited ideas of what those were. And because he values my company so much, my friend has to take a certain amount of shit from me.

-You are very hard on yourself.

Yes. “Bullying” and “giving shit” are harsh words for me. I was kind. I was reasonably self-assertive. I was as creative as I could be. My judgment of myself is harsh, and I am allowing the judgment and trying to stop it preventing me doing what I want. Bullying is wrong. My inner critic calls my action bullying, yet I do it anyway. In unsatisfactory circumstances I am happy enough with my conduct.

At one point we reach a stop, and she says she has a question. Fire away.

-You said your internal policeman tasered you for not being sufficiently manly. Did he not get the memo?

We laugh. Apparently not. It is good to be conscious of him, though, rather than just being paralysed. I love the way I make her laugh. I am telling my stories as elegantly and quickly as I can, wanting to get the meaning over, but enjoying how I word them well.

Before lunch, H told me a coat would look good on me. I am playing control games. I like them. If that is her controlling me- what does that do for me? It is what I want. It gives me a sense of connection.

-Would you have bought the coat yourself?
-No. Never. But I love it.
-So she is appreciating a part of you which is usually silent, and giving it a voice.

I am addicted to attention. Or at least that is approaching the truth, one facet of it.
-You are being attractive, and valuing that.
-Crying in public could be that addiction. Yet it seems to me that when I cry my unconscious communicates to my conscious how strong my feeling is, and if I can fully accept my depth of feeling I need not show external symptoms. That can be useful.

She does not demur to that.

I have known I am screwed up and at war with myself all my adult life. I am closer to finding the cause of that than I have ever been, and to finding ways round it. My father was feminine, my mother liked that, they both knew it was utterly shameful and no-one must ever find out. I had one honest conversation with my father about it, three months before he died.

This is my work. It is intensely valuable, because I am valuable.

Being controlled, and passive. My best experience of sex so far was with a man who let me lie back, doing nothing, and with gentleness, empathy and generosity opened me up. I was curled up and self-protective, and he got me to open myself to him. He licked me out. “You taste Goood,” he said. I want to do none of the work, and be accepted.

Bullying. It is a harsh judgment. I am crying.

She says it is difficult to integrate the self when it is so repressed. At her request, I show her my yellow coat. It is very yellow.

We arrange another appointment, and then I watch Star Trek Deep Space Nine. I like it. It is decades-old SF entertainment for teenagers, and I still like it. It is beautifully done. I pause it to think.

Do I need it to be in some way objectively good, before I am allowed- can allow myself- to like it? Now I am weeping hard. NO! I like it! Yet this is an exceptionally good episode, ep 3/7, “Civil Defense”. I love the clever ways they come up with to reduce the threat, always making it worse until the end. I love the way the characters respond in ways like themselves: Quark and Odo flirt together beautifully, subtly showing their regard and care for each other as they bicker. It is funny. At the end, there is surely the tiredest cliché- the computer counts down the seconds to Self Destruct- and the tension of it grips me. I love their heroism: continually knocked back, everyone keeps buggering on. I loved the sense of the characters, and see it is the only DS9 writing credit of Mike Krohn- his only other credit is one TV movie, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct: Lightning. I may watch that episode again, however ridiculous the whole world might find such a complete waste of time.


My vicar said two things which drove me out of the Anglican church: “I will try to ensure you are not driven out of the church,” which seemed too negative; and “Do you want to look like that, all the time?”

I thought recently, Yes. I would of course rather pass perfectly and look beautiful, but when the choice was between looking a fairly ordinary bloke, and looking like an obvious tranny– beard stubble, no idea of dress sense, bad wig, ungainly and awkward- I would still choose transition. I don’t know that I could bear it, now, but though I have considered reverting the drive is as strong as ever.

I have not been in the ritual space for months, and that rug needs a good brush. I knelt on Saturday evening.

I feel sad– but this is not painful, as I am not resisting it. I don’t tell myself, Don’t cry– because that would make me cry harder, to get the message across. I permit it. I don’t cry.

Later, I feel angry. It isn’t, but I see how that can be energising– I admit it is reasonable, and it becomes heat to warm me, rather than to burn me.

I did not want to go to the Quaker meeting, but did anyway. Certainly I am in “low functioning me”- depressive, not really wanting to talk, though chatting away in the car with Peter. I went immediately into the meeting room.

And it felt like this LFM is- real me– or at least, part of real me which I need to accept and integrate. These are my authentic feelings.

This bit-

I know I want to hide away, but it seems to me I have worked that out, from what I have done; the way I chose my career, how I behave now. In the meeting room it seemed that I was feeling the desire, there and then, consciously-

for the first time?

These are my most powerful drives, affecting me so strongly.

The Quaker shared lunch was quite fun, as usual Ann doing most of the cooking, and rather than contributing anything I took sausage rolls away. Peter came back to my flat, where we chatted and grazed on left-over food from the shared lunch, until it was time for the concert.

All Saints Church is a great barn of a place, seating 400, from the mid 19th century. The local amateur group had an orchestra of forty, and a large choir; they started with the Bach Toccata and Fugue on the organ and ended with the Magnificat. The audience was uneducated, clapping between movements: “I don’t know when to clap,” said the man behind me, plaintively. Sitting between the Gothic arches, with the darkness outside, I was reminded of the beauty I loved in the Anglican church. The woman beside me was embarrassed by her angry husband, who was disdainful of some nervousness in the organist. But this is Swanston, not Edinburgh, or even Norwich. I opened myself to the beauty of the music, took less notice of infelicities, and the first movement of the Magnificat moved me to tears.

Blake, God blessing

Letting off steam

Trouble with hormones. Man cycling on the pavement of Midland Road, which has little vehicular or pedestrian traffic, a wide pavement and low kerb so you can fairly easily move on and off the pavement on a bicycle. Being in an arsey sort of mood, I think to myself “It’s a road vehicle,” and walk so as to force him to the edge of the pavement. He wobbles on the edge, passes me, and shouts abuse: “Slut!” he shouts. “Slut! Slut!” Quotidian human interaction…

Here am I on the green pills, which may or may not cause emotional lability, and my emotional reaction shows in my face and actions. Sometimes I am upset, and I start to cry (Oh God, I think, why can I not get this sentence out? Such frustration!) and sometimes I get angry. There is a rational basis, an explicable factual stimulation behind both responses, the world is not as I want it to be, do you want it to change too, can we make it better? The crying produces “there there” noises and offers of help and sympathy- still frustrated, I think No! Under this I am sensible- and the anger produces an equal and opposite reaction, or sometimes expressions of hurt from others which get sympathy and I am the Bad Person.

It is so frustrating! If only I could choose: calm, rational explanation; turn on the waterworks to elicit, “Oh! How can we help? What can we do?” Anger just at the right moment…

Arse excelled himself. (Quakers do not know whom I mean.) Now, when exactly the same circumstances are about to arise, I think, surely he will not do it again? Fearing that he will, I find anger and irritation rising, and wonder if I will be able to resist the sarky remarks which he just might take as a challenge. I know a soft answer turneth away wrath, and it is oestrogen I am on, and still.

Or, total bore whose topics of conversation with me, when I fail to avoid her, are what a wonderful Ally she is and what right-on opinions she has about LGBT (which I feel is my topic, and I don’t want to talk about it except when I do) and ghastly sympathy about how awful it must be to wear a wig, be unemployed etc. Actually, wearing a wig is like having your own hair: sometimes I love it, sometimes I think Oh God I look like a man! It looks like a wig! I look terrible! To which the appropriate answer- most women understand this- is “You look beautiful. Of course I mean that. I would not say it if I didn’t mean it…”

So I shouted at her, making my aim about which I was really stressed less likely to be achieved, making me less able to contribute to achieving it, and making me the bad person. Yes, I know I upset people. Sometimes I regret that, and sometimes I just regret the results.

Feuerbach, Medea


There are three pairs of geese, each with five goslings. Two families are on the water, but one is on the grass between the path and the water, though I am only four feet away. They are so tame that though the parents keep an eye on me they are not fleeing. Two women have also stopped to watch the babies, and one says to me how they have grown, in the last fortnight! We share our delight at seeing them, cooing as over human babies. I felt complete joy.

The average age at the first rape of these women is thirteen. Of course I did not see the ones still in sexual slavery, or the ones who died in their twenties of chronic drug use, or the suicides or the ones murdered. The ones I met have had luck, as well as resilience.

I felt I was seeking reconciliation, healing, and the deepening of our worship and community together. Others thought the problem was me, and the first priority was to get me to shut up. I would not shut up, and the whole area meeting condemned me, while (I read later) demonstrating caring, concern and tenderness for me, which I did not perceive at the time.

I feel like Francesca, blown around the outer circle of Hell

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, is wonderful. If I could steal anyone’s life it would be hers. It moves me to tears, changes an ideal into an imperative and a normal attitude into a vile one, in my mind and the phrase that speaks to me now is like someone unable to fall fully in love because she can’t stop imagining the inevitable heartbreak.

Those former sex workers, they have huge resilience, they have faced things you could not even dream of, and you claim to be broken after- Nothing??

This cruel voice in my head, saying I am weak, is the problem. It is what holds me back

Kate approached me two years later. She was very glad to see me at Yearly Meeting, yet she needed to check that I really did not recognise her. I might have been snubbing her. I reassured her that I am really not good at recognising faces or remembering names, though she recognised me sitting on the grass in the sunshine two years after. We had a very brief conversation. She was really glad to see me. I was grateful for that, and for her saying it.

If only I could recognise people and remember names!

I have spent much of the last 48 hours pacing the floor, weeping and wailing, wordlessly, lying awake at night and dozing fitfully in the day. I am so grateful! -that the tears ooze out of my eyes rather than leaking from my nostrils, which they usually do, which is such a pain.

I came to the Religious Society of Friends because I felt too uncomfortable staying with the Anglicans and expressing my real, female, self. I was welcomed, and that acceptance gave me the courage to transition in work. That experience coloured my view of the Society and has affected all my actions and relationships in it since

and the thought that my view of the Society might nevertheless just possibly not be totally fucked up and damaging and ridiculous sets me wailing again.

Those strange bipeds, which bear a superficial resemblance to me! I am projecting onto all of you, right now: anyone who would see me is like a seven foot granite statue in my mind, a Judge, seeing me and finding me wanting, condemning me-

possibly this is unduly pessimistic in me

The green sofa *oil on canvas *65.4 x 92.4 cm *signed b.r.: J. Lavery


I clean my teeth in the shower. I announce this here because I saw written of another that She cleans her teeth in the shower as if that were shocking or weird- anti-environmental, wasteful or something.

Thinking of one of those problems. But what will he think of me? How can I say that? What will [individual/group/everyone] think of me? is one of my chief obstacles to action, and it would behove me to care less. I never know, anyway. Thinking of one of those problems and I am weeping in the shower, can’t see to rinse my toothbrush properly.

The inner critic says sardonically, cruelly, As if weeping ever did any fucking good.

Weeping- soap and rinse as best I can-

The inner rationalist starts to argue this. It is better than denial. It is further on.

And I– I don’t know, at any rate my throat, my vocal cords, goes No it is Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na NOT it is NOT it is NOT further on it is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT

Can’t see to use my deodorant. It is important to use my deodorant. Weeping and screaming and ROARING-

trust the process.

It is a process. Weeping is Not “further on” or “better” than denial and avoidance activity. Analysis may not do any good. Weeping may not do any good. There is a process, there is a thing, possibly even an “I” called Abigail which might- I don’t want to say “cope” “deal” “muddle through” because I don’t want to second-guess ME ALL OF ME with a bit of me

words, analysis, get in the way?

Why am I writing and publishing this? Fuck I don’t know. I want to.

I can’t tell you what the problems are, now, because you would think I am pathetic

Should I tell her I feel insulted and badly treated? When has that ever done any good? Well, it might strike home. She is supposedly a mature adult, regularly irritating me with all the wisdom-bollocks memes she shares on facebook- that wasn’t the thing I started crying about, actually- feeling better now, it is time to wash my bedding, don’t try to second-guess what next, stay in the moment-

not knowing is difficult

“Have mercy on yourself” said Menis

Actually I am proud of it. This experience comes to others. I communicate it well. Some who do not consciously resonate with my words will understand later.

Hope III

Boldini- Berthè considers a fanKnow the past. Let it touch you. Then let the past go. Good advice from Octavia Butler’s heroine Olamina. Actually, it starts “To survive, know the past…”- well, it is dystopian SF. I thought of putting it as my header text.

I was crying this morning about the job I left in 2006. After various jobs round the CAB, I was going round the hospital wards, advising patients referred to me. Meanwhile, Steve, hospital service manager, was in a stand-off with Andy, chief executive. Steve said he was a manager, so should not be advising clients, and that it was unsafe to open the office when there was only one worker in it (though it was in the hospital) so if he was alone he would lock the door. Andy failed to provide any volunteer workers. I don’t know why, possibly there were other considerations, or possibly he just wanted Steve to give in and advise like Penny had. Meanwhile the hospital continually threatened to withdraw funding, including the funding for my wage. My job was fascinating, but often stressful and frustrating apart from this.

Let the past go. Of course, good advice, but how can I? My last four job-roles turned to shit, and it was not merely and entirely my fault. It will always be like that is what I take in to myself.

Let it touch you. I do not think about this a lot. I think I let it touch me at the time, my fear that funding would cease, my irritation at Steve.

I have goals, and given the exercise I wrote them out. Some, I even approve of.

To survive.
To control my space.
Not to suffer.
To see myself as a good person.
To do something worthwhile.
To form connections.
To learn and understand.
To accept and forgive myself.
To see myself and others as we really are.

What goals do you want in your life? was the question. These are not my goals, but I would like them to be:

To support myself without recourse to benefits.
To get stage time.
To write something more substantial than a blog post.
To learn new music on the piano, and polish and enjoy my repertoire.

Stage time is possible. There is a small amateur theatre in Nupton seating 83, to hire for £130 a night. I have no idea how to market my performance, though I could just invite an audience as I could afford £130, and that would be a good experience or useful try-out. Though I have only written half an hour, and am not entirely satisfied with that. Six minutes of it is good, and has had good audience reactions. I found memorising difficult. Having just found that theatre three days ago without having thought to look for such a thing before, I may start writing again.

I need hope. I want to put down this heavy weight, it will always be like that. Neil told me he just kept going. Fucking brilliant. Bully for you. I did until I couldn’t.

Come from Love

File:SophieAndersonTakethefairfaceofWoman.jpgWe sat, stunned. I thought, I should be upset, and am not. Now I think, how could I be? After days of Mum lying in bed, responding less, then two days lying unconscious, then a minute foaming at the mouth- how could I feel all that might make me feel?

I wept three times that year. We laid Mum out in a new dress, in her coffin in the spare bedroom, and I kissed her face and was freed to weep. How could I read the eulogy my father composed for the funeral without weeping, people asked. I did not tell them that I remembered stealing her mastectomy breast forms after my father had put them in the bin, and my self-disgust steeled me. Months later at the Bridgewater Hall I heard Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto, and the second movement, poised, balanced, vulnerable, intense, sweet, aching, expressing loss and acceptance made tears pour out, in the crowd, and no-one minded, and that no-one minded was a useful lesson.

Years later I lay on the floor so often, weeping, I am not a man, that I transitioned.

I felt myself getting labile, weeping at anything, angry at small things, and I withdrew. Last year, it seems to me I had withdrawn completely. I knew I had no chance of staying on ESA, and I would have to sign on, but instead of finding a flat I could rent, and even, perhaps, trying to find a job, I hunkered down and procrastinated.

File:SophieAndersonTheHeadOfANymph.jpgI had found a way where I could tolerate my own emotional responses. I did not listen to the news, so much. I read a bit, but not too deeply. I have blogged. I could say, I accomplished nothing last year, I merely existed, but I tested to destruction that way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings. Okay, that doesn’t work, what now? More meditation, perhaps.

More Rachmaninov. Let me feel it fully. Let my anger course through my veins, let my weeping flood me, let my fear do whatever fear does in purple cliché mode. Let me be filled with it, naked with it, one flesh with it. Let me accept it and love it and become one, for it is me and I am bigger than I know, consciously; and I know, unconsciously.

Here I record my progress…messing about…File:LGAnderson.jpg

Fbfnd split from his cohabitee of 18 months, and posted on facebook a picture of her looking beautiful and his good wishes for her, stating their separation. Someone told him he should take it down. Someone else said he should do the right thing, and “come from Love”. But that is impossible. Throw yourself into your work, get very drunk, leave your computer at a friend’s house because facebook is dangerous and email is worse, but do not lie to yourself that you “Come from Love”.

I have been so trapped by my need to see myself as a loving, creative, caring human being: I crush all my impulses otherwise until it takes all my energy. I am unsure what to do with them, but denying them is not working.

I can’t be the only one, stuck in the lessons of teen-age, surely? I tell myself I can be a “loving, creative, caring human being” and pissed off occasionally-

You have nothing to fear

HMRCOpen this fucking door, Now. If you don’t open this door I’ll fucking kick it in.

Well, I am glad it’s not my door, and glad it’s a woman’s voice as women tend to be less physically strong. A wronged lover? Shouting from outside, then from inside, recurred for about an hour. Next day, I saw my neighbour’s mother. “I don’t want to pry,” I lied. Well, I don’t just want to pry. “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” Her daughter Steph had been drinking for a couple of days, so they have taken her home for a bit. The mother was just there to pick up a few bits.

van Gogh- The Mulberry Tree, detailThere’s a large dark bill board to walk past on my way to the Meeting house, from HM Revenue and Customs, in the same series as the one illustrated: just one eye, peering over something. The fact that the eye is female, young and attractive makes it more spooky. “If you’ve declared all your income you have nothing to fear.” If you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear is an authoritarian lie, since snoopers can see wrong in anything: the Revenue investigation of my brother-in-law found £7.43 in unpaid tax, but cost him £1000 in accountants’ fees, in about 1990. 600px-Radiation_warning_symbol.svg

In the dentist, all the surgery doors have radiation warning symbols, and the dentist gave me a radioactive source to take into my mouth. I saw the x-ray on his monitor, and wondered if they have found a new way of exploiting NHS payment regulations. He sold me yet another new design of tool to stick between my teeth and remove plaque, told me my gums were receding and inflamed, and arranged to see me again in six months. I went off clothes shopping, and found Dottie P. had closed, and the tiny Clarks’ shop stock seemed much poorer than usual: well, there are always the charity shops.

(Are flat brogues in, this season? My suspicion is that the Swanston Clarks’ has last year’s styles at full price.)

Quaker stuff. We decided to nominate M to Outreach Committee. He has enthusiasm and ideas, not all of which will work out, I think. He went to his first meeting, and wants to share his ideas with the Area Meeting Clerk (me) by email, as well as the committee. He phoned me to say that they seemed a little lacking in conviction. The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ are full of passionate intensity, I quoted. I did not say to him you have to sort it out among yourselves. I can’t get involved. Crikey, though unemployed I have a management problem. Then I got worked up about saying that to him but in such an indirect manner. Should I phone him back? Should I put it in an email? I want everything to be nice and everyone happy and working together and what if-

msc1aThen there was the Facebook at 10 film, which includes this photo, which shames me. Comment from U., feeling honoured to be in your review x, which wound me up far more because it still winds me up. I was pacing the floor, screaming, they could probably give me something to calm me down and I could get a job in Tesco, but I would rather be devoting all my gifts and intelligence to FINDING A WAY THROUGH THIS-

and F can scream, and be taken home and looked after

I want to scream and for someone, anyone, just to hear me.

Writing later: I threw a wobbly. I do that. I get that I cannot trust myself, my perceptions or my world, and this destabilises me. Five hours later I feel more stable if a bit fragile.

Breast screening

breast screening 1I had my breasts squeezed, pinched and photographed today.

Women aged 50-70 are invited for screening every three years, and some women aged 47-49 are invited as part of a study of screening older and younger women. I am an atypical subject for such a study, but, well, why not?

That was what the letter said, though the leaflet says something different: from 2012 the screening programme will be extended to women 47-73, this was decided in 2007 and is now being rolled out. Whatever.

How do I feel about medics touching me? My GP, who has a lovely manner, offered to show me how to examine myself, and I fled: the thought of taking my top off and being touched upset me. I stiffened- if she had touched my clothed arm it would have bothered me.

In 2003 Tim, my friendly Endocrinologist, referred me to a gynaecologist whom I saw three times. He was really really lovely. Just nice. I told him how uncomfortable and difficult I found dilation, and wept. I wanted to talk without crying but could not: I could get the words out if I sobbed in between. Then crying opened me: I could feel my hurt and talk, and he was gentle and understanding.

I saw a surgeon when I was considering implants. I thought I could just be examined, but felt shy when it came to it. He offered a female chaperone, and though I had thought I would not need this, I was glad of it. Sitting with my top off- I can’t respond quite as rationally as I might otherwise.

I cycled a mile to the mobile trailer at the outpatients’ clinic. A woman entered me on the system: hello, how are you? How are you? Oh, not many ladies ask that, I’m fine, she said. I sit in a breast screening 2cubicle where I was invited to take off my bra- indeed I would not like a communal waiting space. There are old magazines.

I go into the end room where the Mammographer asks me to take off my top, and shows me the machine. I remember Josie telling how her breast was squeezed between two cold metal plates- but that was last century, this machine uses plastic. Without intending, I go into a half-trance, so that she can place me as she wishes. I go quite passive. I do not want to make eye contact. She takes some time arranging me just so- it is worse, she says, when people try to cooperate. It pinches. It is uncomfortable, though no worse than seeing the dentist. I will get results, she says, in two weeks.

Some women will have treatment for a condition which would never have caused them problems. 3% of women will have the serious worry of needing further tests, but not needing treatment. Lives get saved by early diagnosis.

I asked if she could show me how to examine myself, but she is not trained to do so. I should ask my GP’s practice nurse. What a job, doing that all day.