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People who are open about their needs, for things like attention or validation, particularly with casual or non-intimate friends, confuse me on a deep level. I wonder what their interior lives must be like, how and to what degree they're different than mine. Rightly or wrongly, I imagine they have more straight lines, less twists and turns, less feedback loops. Are they even aware of some of the difference?
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I have come to experience my migraines as at least partially spiritual in nature. I am currently on the front end of a mild one. The thought that often occurs to me lately when I am not able to negotiate postponing an onset is, "What debt have I incurred that I must now pay attention to/what have I put off too long?"

I still don't have a solid answer, but there are a lot of debts (mostly to myself, less to parts of the nonhuman world, who are much more gift rather than trade/exchange based) I have incurred, and have only been servicing interest.
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I don't write much anymore. I interpret that as negative, if not actually a warning sign.

I don't think I'm dealing well with aging. My vanity assures me I don't look my age (50), but I am aware of time, past, passing, and limited, in ways I wasn't before. Even when I thought J might die, three years back, I wasn't aware of time like this (it was probably an extended version of hyperpresent now, looking back on it).

My gender/sexual characteristic issues haven't gone away; if anything, they've deepened. I realize now I've been on some version of medically supervised hormone treatment for about ten years now. If I'm not careful, I think it's some degree of obvious that I have small breasts (I also suspect hormones play a part in me not looking my age, but that could be internalization of conventional trans wisdom. My family may tend to age prematurely, but they also live and eat terribly, so comparisons might not be terribly useful. Also, xenogenesis remains a possibility.)

I don't leave my house much except to go to work, and to provide the basics. It's not that I'm afraid of people, not in an agoraphobic way, but I am always aware of the gaze of others, and the (often unconscious) weight of judgment, sorting, assigning. I've made hypervigilance a way of life, and it feeds/feeds from my always cycling intellect/intellectualization. I *can* extrapolate myriad meanings from a gesture, a word, a glance, sure, but what good does it do me? Would I be better without it? Might as well ask if rain would be better if it wasn't wet, maybe. I know myself because I think about everything, all the time.

There are moments when I'm not paying full attention to myself, lost in thought about something else, and I feel the way my body shifts and moves, or maybe catch a glimpse of myself in reflection before all the defensive modeling apparati kick in, and I actually like that instant. I never know what to do with those moments; I rarely do anything that might lead me to greater happiness (have I given up on that, or have I decided the cost is simply too high?). I used to dream of a body shaped similar to mine; now that I have it, I'm afraid to do anything other than hide and disguise it. I certainly don't celebrate it, and at times think about (metaphorically) cutting out a portion of myself to feel more comfortable, but not happy.

I do not dress to celebrate my form, or my ideas of self. I tell myself it's because I've lost context, lost venues, lost supporting staff. I could do it at home, but that summons ghosts of both hiding from friends/parents/neighbors as a kid, and feeling like I'm living a trans/tv stereotype. Ironically but not perhaps unexpectedly, the increasing of trans(sexuality) in media lead me to feel trapped in new, binary ways that I didn't but didn't realize earlier. Much love and (genuine) support for my binary trans family, but I wish the masses would embrace complexity and shifting categories rather than use them to reinforce binary ideas to suit themselves (cis majority).

And then there's brain stuff. And spirituality/afraid it would be interpreted as clinically crazy if I spoke about it, stuff. It all feels connected, but I'm not clever enough to see how (and if I'm not clever enough, who is? Who else is as clever, or cleverer, and invested enough to worry at it?)
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I feel heart-sick lately. Maybe it's life, ageing, the drawing to close of another summer, the weather, politics and the ever increasing likelihood of widespread domestic violence, all of the above, none of the above, something else.

I want to weep, to go to new quiet places and breathe, connect with people and things, look forward to something, stop doing the same damned thing over and over for incremental reward from a system I despise.
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I feel like there are two (or more) large nesting subterranean rings rings, marked periodically with openings and rotating such that the openings occasionally lineup, leading to... something. The openings are lining up again, and I don't know what I'm going to do about it.

I have the idea that exceptionalism, true exceptionalism, always comes at a cost. These doors, openings, have come around before, and I may have stuck a foot through, or maybe more, but held back, and eventually retreated. I think this is where my fear of madness, of falling through the cracks of society and shared reality, being the disheveled mess that rants at strangers and talks to birds and trees (I do talk to birds and trees, though quietly, and never when I think others are around).

This is coming out as inherently mystical, and while I do mean that, I don't only mean that. I feel like in recent months (year +), I've started to make serious progress at understanding and accepting how my mind works,as though the knife has finally grown to fit the scabbard, and is ready to be harvested, but what's a knife for, if not to cut? I've also grown increasingly frustrated in my dealings with others who don't see what I see, or remember what I've explained (sometimes over, and over,and over again). And yet, this is not stepping through the openings. This is more like light seeping through the cracks and gaps, and maybe me deciding to become attuned to the ambience.

I think differently than a lot of people. I see differently, and sometimes literally see things people don't. I don't think it's schizophrenia, or any other made up name psychiatry hangs on people it doesn't understand, but I'm afraid these things, and the occasional energy and enthusiasm that comes with the light and expansion, would be classified as such, plus mania and depression, and then chemical numbing. I don't want any of that, but all the cleverness St. Michel bestows won't protect me, only let me see what and why.

I already pay a lot, in terms of cost. I wear ineffability like a veil, always carry distance within me, and move so slowly and carefully to appear nonthreatening and dismissable. I'm afraid I can't afford to pay more, and always worry about what I have to lose, with no clear concept of what might be gained. And yet, whatever is at the heart of the rotating rings is patient, and probably kind, and will keep offering, hoping I'll say yes but never judging me for fear or hesitation. "What if?" is a terrible question, and one that's been with me for decades.

I'm terrified of being exceptional, and terrified that I'm squandering something huge by not. And it's getting harder to hold all this back. I think my cracks are starting to show.
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I worry most of the time about how I appear to others, and what they may be expecting from me based on that appearance. I always anticipate, "People think about you less than you assume", and while I think that's generally true, I think both anecdotal and research data shows that when it comes to gender, that's less true than not.

I'm particularly self-conscious when entering or leaving the office of my electrolosist's office. Due to lots of forces, it's an almost exclusively feminine-identified clientele, and I worry immensely about standing out or drawing attention to myself. I know how I read to most people, and the presumed weight of attention/assumption/judgment is heavy on me.

Bonus: I'm slowly running out of facial hair to electrocute, so a reduction in pain and expenditure is on the distant horizon.
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I am so frustrated.
I'm so tired of being out of sync, both in frequency and amplitude.
I'm so tired of the constantly weighed weight of the gaze of others.
I'm so frustrated by the apparent social reality of zero sum games.
I'm so tired of having to assume the burdens of ignorance (particularly when I work so hard to educate myself).
I'm so frustrated with not being able to be mostly present with others unless exogenous chemicals are involved.
I'm so angry about the (Marxist) speed-up.
I'm so sick of the (personal) slow-down.
I'm so tired of fighting like hell to present some form of "normal", almost like my life and livelihood depend on it, because they basically do.
I'm so tired. And sad.
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I've been reading my way through the 3rd edition of the RPG Unknown Armies lately, and I keep running into frustration. I love the idea ("broken people trying to fix the world"), and the broad strokes concepts (avatars of archetypes, ritual and "chaos" magic, modern schools of reality bending), and the central notion that human belief and action can change everything...

But. The mechanical details have driven me crazy since a previous version, and it clicked for me today. Everything feels too tidy, too small, too contained, systemically, despite all the descriptive writing about how everything is up for grabs. My impression, for better or worse, is that this is a creative bit of game design for the writer, and from that perspective, it's pretty good (made it to a 3rd edition, after all). What it does not seem to be is an attempt reflect any given flavor of mystical/magical experience into collaborative storytelling form.

I'm drawn to this setting, this concept because (to mangle St Jeanette) the kind of stories we tell one another matter. Stories matter. I want to share some of my world with others, both in the general this-is-how-things-are-connected/this-means-more-than-you-might-think and in the more generally mystical experiences. I am very open with potential players that I want to plant my seeds in their heads, while hoping to have their seeds take root in mine. These rules aren't for that, I don't think. They're too small a container for what I hope to achieve.

Now to figure out if they can serve as a working foundation.I think the setting is redeemable; I think the cosmology will require some substantial change. I *think* I can work that into the narrative, if players will indulge me.

(It strikes me that I keep returning to this because I don't write, don't think I have the discipline to learn to write, and want a faster feedback loop than I think writing enables. It could be laziness and familiarity, too.)
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I'm entering a difficult phase with my therapist, in which I think (fear?) she's got some of her own issues impacting my therapeutic time. This is tricky territory for me, as I generally choose to try and help people, and do try to see the therapeutic relationship as a microcosm for figuring out how to deal with people in the wild, but... do I really want to be paying an hourly rate to investigate how my therapist reacts as a person to the things I say when trying to work through my issues? Am I being a privileged consumer of services, denying the humanity of another? Is my therapist inserting her issues into the mix? Is transference necessarily a one way street in treatment?
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In other obvious things: I just realized I'm ashamed of my needs.
adrienmundi: (Default)
Yesterday my therapist suggested that I might continue to not get the connection I crave from others until I find a way to let go of the frustration and resentment I feel about having to soften, slow down, and carefully consider how and what I say to whom. I had already admitted that I assume this would almost always be the case (slower/softer), and that I'd accepted it even while being frustrated and resentful of it; the idea that my reaction to the mismatch being a part of the alienation, even while trying to mitigate the mismatch itself, is difficult for me to swallow.
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Even when writing for an imaginary audience, I hesitate to write directly. I can always tell the difference when I've written under the influence (alcohol, caffeine, emotional duress) and when I haven't. I have a harder time shaking the influences of Romanticism than I thought.

I've been engaging in overt escapism more lately. On one hand,a case can be made that escapism has been a big part of how I've coped the last few years, but I think (maybe hope is more accurate) that was a less consciously aware engagement. The last time this self-awareness arose, I tried to tack toward real life (mine, anyway) by working those themes into games, but I think it was a combination of bad timing and my reach drastically exceeding my grasp.
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I can remember being a teen (maybe even younger) and desperately wishing to be different in a recognizable and meaningful way. Some of this was no doubt the predictable youthful struggle for individuation, and some of it the fantasy of making my loneliness and alienation positive. The burden of closets only magnified this whole wish fulfillment.

Within the past dozen or so years, it's become clear to me that I am different in profound-to-me ways. I've been struggling, with vary degrees of success, to learn to live with that, and to maybe accept it as something that just *is*. It's very much a work in progress; I imagine it will be for as long as I'm alive. But while this is a big part of who I am, I find I'm much more interested in connecting than I am in defining difference. It seems for me that a big part of learning to connect requires an awareness of differences, though, because some of these differences carry great hidden distances; knowing where they are seems important.

My current perspective is that this is largely a personal struggle, and that the majority of the work will be on me, no matter whomever else is involved. My relation to my own interiority means perhaps I'm better equipped to map my own terrain and try to observe the outlines belonging to others. I struggle with feeling that this is another invisible-to-others distance/difference, which threatens to undermine the larger project.
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Some days it's exhausting just being me.
adrienmundi: (Default)
How much of personality is performative? How much is habit? How much of any of this is conscious, and is it better or worse if it is?

I find myself getting very impatient with people I read as performative, and unconscious. If I (think I) can see the (probable) need behind certain behaviours or personality patterns, why can't others? And then I wonder what commensurate things people might think about me (assuming they think about me).
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I don't know how to enter into geek culture without coming in through the lens of presumed-guy. I can do academic/queer/slippery, and I can hit a flavor of goth-adrogynous-mixing, but other subcultures seem much less penetrable in ways I understand. It's confusing and disheartening, because a big part of my androgynous/slippery/queer heart and past are tied up with geek culture, but at the fringes.
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Huh. Apparently, I need to drink, think, then write more.
adrienmundi: (Default)
I almost dread my biweekly electrolysis. I'm down to the area around my mouth, and the center of my throat. All of this is incredibly sensitive, though in different ways. The area on my throat hurts less than I'd expect, but triggers something deeply aversive in primordial parts of my brain. I have to actively fight a stomach churning, need-to-get-away response, and remind myself that I've chosen to do this, and for a reason.

The area around my mouth, upper lip in particular, actually hurts more (and this is at a lower voltage), but I bear it much better. Typically after about 15 minutes on my upper lip, slow tears start running from my right eye. I feel bad for my electrolycist when that happens (which is kind of peculiar anyway, but metacognition is kind of my go-to).

I want this to be done. I don't want to have to shave my face again,ever. It's taken years (5-6 years, I think) to get this far,and more money than that about which I'm comfortable thinking. I tend to spiral out into the economics of being trans, and the fucked-upness of the consumer model of the (elective?) medical industry, and then I have to just turn my attention elsewhere because I'm so very tired of the spectres of "normalcy" and "just use of resources".
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Moving now, because fuck Russian state anti-LGBT and anti-privacy rulings. Nostalgia does not outweigh what's right.
adrienmundi: (marked)
I feel like I need a place/context I can be more at ease, where I can let all the "monster" things I worry about, monitor, keep in check and hide, out. What I don't want is hanging out with people whose idea of freedom is being an asshole. I mean, yes, I worry about acting/sounding like an asshole, and often silence myself because of that; that's not what I mean. I don't want to devote any time to those who want to be mean, or to use "honesty" as a non-stick coating for cruelty. I've known (and probably, been) people like that, and feel even less myself in that company than in the wider world.

Hiding, holding in, is exhausting. I don't let my weird out enough, I know; I rarely talk about my own inner workings except on social media, and then only obliquely. My therapist has pointed out (accurately, I think) that this precludes the possibility of intimacy. The always-running disaster modeling in my head strongly suggests that the possibility of meaningful intimacy is tiny, but the possibility of even greater distance/alienation is substantial. I know this process arose out of a need for self-protection, and I appreciate it, yet I don't know how to deflect or acknowledge and move past it when the majority of my mind agrees with its assessments. I am lonely and starving in important ways, and the usual means of distraction are even less sufficient than usual.

I don't know that I even know how to release my monster traits, monster self.

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