Just a quick post

I had other posts lined up for either today or tomorrow.. but then I heard about something which seemed somewhat more important to draw attention to.

In Germany, a young girl of 11 is being threatened with institutionalisation, and enforced foster care afterwards because that girl is a transgirl. Her parents are divorced and although she has her mothers support, she does not have her fathers.

Please sign the petition to at least attempt to prevent the damage this will cause to this child:

http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-of-berlin-stop-the-institutionalization-of-a-11-year-old-transexual

Keep calm and carry on

Stumbling across this video was interesting. At my university, it’s extremely common to see plays on this poster, to the point where it actually just gets annoying. There was the the union event ‘keep calm and be a lad’.. because laddishness is typified by calm collectedness, I’m sure. Or the student support centre’s ad that I believe goes ‘keep calm and eat beans’.

It’s a shame, because I actually like the original poster and I’d rather not get sick of it.

Additionally, I think I have to buy a book from that shop at some point.

Found on: Well, I never knew « vividreality.

A ramble.

Last time I posted, I spoke about how gender’s been on my mind. I also said I’d try to get that into something approaching a coherent piece of writing. I rather feel I should make good on my word and do so, but it’s not easy.

There’s the worry about who might read this and how they might respond. Or even just what they might think, the judgements they might make, regardless of whether or not they make an overt response. I know that part of this is me worrying more than I need to, but I don’t think it’s entirely irrational, unfortunately.

I think partly it’s inherently ridiculous. I mean, I both thoroughly do not believe in any form of sex, gender or sexuality binary – and yet, when it comes to gender especially, I’d very much like to feel like I fit inside of that supposedly not so existent binary. I don’t think that’s any more possible than the world suddenly realising maybe it’s not worth having a floor for men’s clothing and a floor for women’s because what about the way that the women’s floor needs so much variation that sometimes the measurements are not that different from the men’s and the need for the floor for people who don’t feel like either floor is quite right except sometimes they like to feel kinda femme-y, but not as often as they like to feel masculine and all the other variations you would begin to require. (A department store that worked on the basis of simply selling clothing, without gendering any of it would be amazing). It’s possibly even less possible than that.

The pressure to be cis feels immense. I don’t think my parents would even begin to understand, and quite honestly, what with being queer and having bipolar and scoliosis I’ve been enough of the ‘odd child’ as it is.

There’s also the way I quite like being seen as an adult. Except, let’s be honest at 4″11, if I don’t get a chance to enter into proper conversation with you, that’s because of my boobs. Which means you’re not seeing me as an ‘adult’, you’re seeing me as a ‘woman’. Which isn’t great.

Ok, so yeah, T would probably serve as a workaround for that one. Facial hair, deeper voice, eventually that might swing it. But.. maybe that’d just be the same problem in a different guise? Alright, there’s less sexism involved in being seen as an adult man, which’d be nice and there’s no denying that, but uh no, that’s not the right reason to do that (or the right way to achieve not experiencing sexism).

So, it’s all too easy to feel like I should just stop being stupid and think ‘look, boobs, vagina = woman, duh’. I can’t think that though. It’s wrong, and not only is it wrong, it’s an extremely hurtful viewpoint to all the binary women out there who don’t have those body parts. And if transmen don’t have to see themselves that way even if they do have them, why should I?

In some ways, it’d also be a lot simpler if I could align myself with that identity. Note: I am not using simpler to mean in any way easier. That would be bullshit. Just simpler in that the identity of ‘man’ is at least recognised. That there’s surgery and hormones available to make your body more inhabitable, if that’s what you need or want. That you’ve at least grown up knowing the word for you, even if it took you years to realise you could claim it.

All I know is that when a group is split down the lines of ‘the boys’ and the ‘the girls’, it doesn’t feel ok. That I’d much prefer to be seen as a person than a girl, or woman. I’ve been known to say a fair few times that my body is much more of a woman than I am, and that that is incredibly frustrating and feels incredibly limiting.

I suppose ideally I’d love to have a tall, lithe body that’s pliable in terms of the ways it can be presented to the world. There just isn’t a way to achieve that if you’re not lucky enough to be born like it, even if you’re willing to have your legs broken repeatedly and stretched. I’m not, just to make that clear. I’d also be much, much happier knowing there’s no way I could ever get pregnant. I could possibly be a parent, but there’s no way I ever want to be ‘mum’.

The thing is, right now I have no idea of what the right word for feeling like this is. I don’t think it’s agender, that doesn’t ‘click’ or ‘feel right’. There are words like genderqueer, which sort of works. I’ve known others though who feel similarly who can’t stand that word, and I can definitely see their reasoning. There’s also the fact that it’s more equivalent to stating that you’re binary. For example, you’d say, my gender is binary, I am a man/woman, not I am binary. In comparison, it would be: it’s my gender is queer and then.. I am a.. um. yeah. um. actually I don’t know.

So, I’m left trying to convey to a binary world that I am something that I don’t even know what it’s called I just know what it sure as hell isn’t. With a body that has two options, woman or child. With clothing choices that have two options, woman or boy.

All of this leaves me feeling that in many ways, gender for me is something that is forcibly private and personal. Something that only those that are a) very close and b) have half a chance of understanding can know about. It’s like when straight people say they’re fine with homosexuality, so long as it isn’t in their faces all the time – because that’s only ok for normal love, obviously. Most binary people’s gender, especially those who are cis, is constantly on display, with everything they wear, do, say. In every time they kiss their partner and the way that’s seen, both by their partner and the world at large. It just comes naturally, and so it should.

For me, it’s the complete opposite. My gender is erased even in the smallest moments. That’s right down to nearly every time I have to participate in a study to gain credits for my course. Every single one asks for gender, 99% only offer male or female. It’s a moment where I am being asked to literally define myself, and then denied the space in which to do so.

It’s why I love the term ‘trans*’. The asterisk works as a wildcard, signifying all the non-binary ways to be non-cis. It’s still not quite perfect, but it’s existence means a lot.

Turns out stayi…

Aside

Turns out staying up all day didn’t really work. Hypersomnia just took over and ensured I slept from 12pm till 6pm. Ah well, should be better next week when there’s actually people about during the day.

Apparently, my only option with uni is to return next January. This seems somewhat unnecessary, I should be doing better a long  before 9 months time. I hope so, at least. Right now, the effects of being down, such as this, seem to be only helping me stay this way. I suppose that’s not too unusual.

I’ll do a longer post sometime when my head is less scrambled. Gender is on my mind a lot recently, I just need to find a coherent way of wording it that someone else might understand.

Hand Tremors

I attempted a small amount of photography, and discovered something not too welcome. I seem to have the lithium hand tremors badly enough that no matter what I do, I can not take a photograph that doesn’t look like my camera has had a night out on the town.

I’d noticed it before at times, usually when I’d not been drinking enough. I’d figured though that so long as I was drinking enough water, my hands were fine. Certainly, it’s just a very very slight shake. I’d think nothing of it -except I know I used to be able to take pictures that were in fact crisp and in focus.

For example, this was taken about 8 months ago:

In comparison, these shots of my mum’s amaryllis which has just bloomed were taken tonight:

Probably the best one of the night and even then still not properly in focus

I suppose this means I will need to just do photography properly and use a tripod, which is something I wanted to do anyway. It’s just a shame when it comes to taking photos on the hoof. If anyone knows of any ways around this, or of decent portable tripods, I’d be much appreciative!

A slightly better day

Not quite a good day, but a day where I could at least think ‘well, if one must be depressed, this is at least quite a nice place for it’ (why yes, my internal monologue is quite posh at times).

I managed to wake up just a little tiny bit earlier than I have been recently, which meant I was able to spend the evening with my mum. She decided that cooking seemed too much like effort so we went to a local pub for dinner. Butterfly king prawns for starter and skate for main course went down a treat.

Himalaya with Michael Palin

Himalaya with Michael Palin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After that we just sat at home, knitted for a bit and watched an episode of Michael Palin‘s Himalaya series. Travel series seem to be the perfect distraction right now – a chance for just an hour or so to pretend to be anywhere but here.

The knitting is going surprisingly well. To the point that now every time I start a new row, I worry that I’m about to make a huge mistake and ruin everything I’ve done so far. By and large, I’m getting past that feeling, slowly and managing to persevere. It’s nice to feel like I’m achieving something right now, no matter how small.

A new skill

I promised myself that when I got home, I would allow myself time off from thinking about university work -but that I would also be at least vaguely productive with my time.

Close up of the colours of the wool- so pretty!

The first few rather messy rows. There are at least two well hidden holes from dropped stitches.

It’s hard  to keep the motivation up to do this, so I feel that any small progress is a victory at the moment.

Recently, I’ve become increasingly nocturnal. I find that my thoughts race around my head, and it’s impossible to settle down for sleep. All that happens is that I lie in the dark, thinking, so all I can do is wait until I am exhausted enough to just fall asleep.

Being unable to sleep, I have decided to put this time to use, and practice knitting. My mum taught me how to about a year ago, but I haven’t knitted since. I’m aiming to have finished at least one scarf by next winter. Hopefully I can keep the motivation to do so.

So far, not so good

It seems that taking the end of term off of university to recover from this episode means taking an awful lot longer than I really need at all. This is really rather disheartening.

I’m already 3 years behind my peers. I took an extra year to get through college, and then due to needing surgery for my spine, another 2 years (thanks to MH issues, waiting lists and post-op restrictions).

I am beginning to feel I will be in education for well over 30 years of my life. I just hope I can afford it. Even more than that, I hope I can cope with it. I really want to work as a clinical psychologist, ideally with young people. To do that though, I have to do well at this degree, and then a doctorate. So far, not so good.

So.. right now I feel like

I can’t cope with studying

I’m damn near unemployable 

I can’t sustain meaningful relationships

I generally can’t cope as an adult. 

I know I have the brains for studying. It’s just the lack of stability – which is really not helped by the student lifestyle. One nasty bout of temporary illness and it can have an effect for weeks afterwards, or just add a few more missed lectures. Or take  the one week you might have been able to really put effort into work rather than just ‘getting it done’. One late night out. One night of noise in halls. One bad night with low self esteem leaving it hard to work to a deadline.

One of the most annoying things is the complete lack of option to study part time on this course. I love it here. I love Cardiff. I love the course. I want the placement year. So.. I have to study full time or not at all.

And now I’m taking one out of two breaks I can take, because of one episode, which happened because it is never useful when coughing fits, exhaustion, blocked nose and headaches co-incide with running out of meds. When you have no repeat prescription. And your GP is backlogged with appointments – and you’d have to trek to a pharmacy afterwards as well. When going to the CMHT means maybe waiting hours just for meds. This is ridiculous.. but right now, studying is not something I can do.

As for relationships, I don’t even know what I feel. All I know is I have no interest in feeling like I am being seen as the crazy one who’s opinions don’t need listening to. It’s hard to feel any relationship can work. Maybe one day.

Gendered Insults

It’s a theme I notice a lot: trans* people being happy to be insulted, so long as it’s in the correct gender.

Maybe this is controversial, but I dislike that.

I understand why, or at least, I think I do. It can be an easy way of diffusing a comment; ‘yeah, you think you insulted me, but jokes on you, because you gendered me right.’ Or simply the sheer giddiness of being gendered correctly outweighs any potential hurt.

I just can’t believe that makes it ok.

A misogynistic slur doesn’t become ok just because it was directed towards a trans-woman. It’s not ok to be insulted because you’re trans*. It’s not ok to ignore the societal implications of an insult just because of a warm fuzzy feeling.

I think it’s a very sad thing when someone can  be happy to be insulted like that. Everyone should be validated in their gender, so that no one has to feel like this.