kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(details on fb, possibly to be copied here if y'all are interested, in tl;dr trigger warnings suicide, domestic violence, abuse, coercion, enabling of all of the above, plus bonus sexual harrassment.)

-- but I am on a BUS to OXFORD where I will be fed and looked after, and there are half-hourly buses from London to Oxford at this time of night so it's easy to decide I'm showing up very early in the morning as opposed to reasonably early in the morning, and I've got a pair of seats to myself, and I'm making progress on the introductions meme--

-- and what I'm actually pondering, again, is how astonished I am by the concept of intensity, by myself as intense. I've spent so much time depressed, so much time with anhedonia, with everything muted and grey (i am out here studying stones/trying to learn to be less alive/using all of my will/to hold very still/still even on the inside) that I'm startled every time I realise that pretty much every single person who has met me since I started anti-depressants does think of me that way, saturated colours and vibrancy and fierceness without viciousness, or at least without viciousness as a necessary component. Seeing myself through your eyes is a gift; on nights like this knowing that it is a truth of my existence helps me settle, reminds me what I want to be and that I can do it, reminds me that I am capable. Thank you.
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
... or more specifically, for reasons which this margin is too small to contain, got me to buy myself a dinosaur chocolate mould/ice-cube tray, and made me dinosaur chocolates with ludicrous ganache. And then there was ganache and a paintbrush over, and so I have spent this evening tentatively experimenting with, you got it, making dinosaur chocolates.

My housemate appears to find it both entertaining and charming, however, that I am the kind of person who will exclaim NEVER AGAIN WILL I BE FORCED TO RELY ON MAINSTREAM CHOCOLATIERS FOR CHOCOLATE DINOSAURS like it's, er, completely normal.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
We practise with building bricks and breccias.
Just so--a castle. Just so--in my embrace
if only I hold fast enough, you'll be transformed--
your fragments grown into a plated armoured whole--
your red unblinking eyes your sturdy heart.
As with all complex structures, engineering is required
on every scale from child's play to mountain range;
chance and happenstance tend tenderly toward decay.
With these hands I thee knit together
or a sweater or a scarf; with these hands I thee play
music, best I can; I write for thee solemnities
in careful lines. I create for thee this waxing
waning love, albeit it small, or great--
and at close of day we'll sweep
the sawdust from the floor, we'll bank the fire,
we'll knead the bread--from these quiet domesticities
is all love made.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
For all of you; and specifically for [personal profile] jelazakazone, a bit.

I am living a borrowed life on
borrowed time, in that
the theft thereof has not been noticed yet--
my other selves are paper-thin;
they echo in the corners of my eyes,
their futures circumscribed by our own hand
and thereby written out of history.
Egal: perhaps they would be better, but
it's me who's living this, who's
strong or weak enough to hold on tight.
I will make a patchwork of my fractured nights,
my scraps of grace: as ever bound together
with the brilliant shining thread that you,
unknowing, trace.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Good things: Swype is making typing this on a small screen relatively painless; magnificent double rainbow visible from train on way up to Manchester followed by spotting pond of water-lilies on way back down, above which nice scrubby hillside and a pair of dogs being excitable at their people; lots of sleep and good food; I am enjoying the book I currently have on the go after a slow start, with the next two in the queue known excellent; I had a very successful swing by lab on my way home from Euston; and teaching starts tomorrow. Sleep well, Dreamwidth.

Read more... )


Oct. 8th, 2014 12:14 am
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Poetry in St Paul's this evening, which was not quite what I'd been after but which left me with a lot of thoughts and a very comforting place to doze gently; then dinner; then a walk from St Paul's to Waterloo along the Thames (including crossing it!) with Nik, who remains one of the people I am fondest of in all the world, at least some of which was an amiable amble underneath illuminated trees with his arm slung round my shoulders and my arm round his waist and the river next to us. Good.
kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
My Very Sad E-mail to the railcard folk got answered - [personal profile] quartzpebble let me forward the e-mail and assured me it wasn't a disaster, which is also some of how I deal with e-mails I don't wanna - very briefly, to the effect of "sorry about this, I see customer services have now sorted this."

... so I logged in on the website to check, and the status is now "dispatched". Which means it will be with me soon. Which means that I might have a card in the wrong damn name but I will at least have a card without having had to give them a name I didn't want to, and that's... a thing. *relief*

(However, I suspect this means that a different member of the team got assigned to verify my evidence-of-entitlement when I resubmitted and the structure's still fucked? WHATEVER I AM SORTED FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS.)
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Experience does not correlate linearly with age. The chronologically oldest members of a community do not have the right to dictate its terms or modes of engagement; in so doing they alienate and exclude and erase.

I have not lived through the same events as the chronologically oldest members of my communities. But this, too, is true: they do not axiomatically or automatically understand my experiences any more than I do theirs.

Community-building is by necessity collaborative and constructive. Hierarchies for streamlining decisions are not required to uphold inequalities and power gradients.

I am rendered brittle by this tension, this assumed inequality, and then I remember: that I can help people decades older than me. That people younger than me gift me insights that rearrange my world around me and leave it better. That the people I am best able to ask for help are those who ask me.

When I say that I think the most important thing I do is know who to ask, I am fairly sure that what I mean isn't just about knowledge and respect for expertise: it's about reciprocating trust and kindnesses, and about bringing as many people as possible into this economy of gifts-freely-given that constitutes the ground on which I build.


Jul. 30th, 2014 01:05 pm
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] recessional on appearing high-functioning.

I've got a loosely-organised collection of around 10 people who remind me to do basic self-care, visit me so I have a reason to prepare food when my housemate's out, do the laundry, help make groceries happen, definitely who facilitate sleep, prompt me to do housework that makes me feel better (see yesterday's todo/tada), and so on, and so forth.

All of this is work. I am simultaneously much less and much more independently functional than I look.
kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
because it is 1am and I've just wolfed leftovers quesidilla and spilled the tomato sauce all over myself and my housemate left the hall light on for me and I'm about to wash and clothes are the worst and I spent 14 hours at work today and got data and I am buzzing--

-- and yes it is the euphoria of sleep deprivation but it's also the euphoria of data and of I love my job (and some of the exuberant delight in it is precisely because every single person up my line management looks at me and goes "... for fuck's sake get some goddamn sleep" instead of telling me to do more work), and -- this, this, this is why I do research completely divorced from social implications, this is why I care about shit that maybe 20 people ever will really engage with if I'm lucky --

because I get this from it, and that is enough to keep me going through the endless trans 101 and the queerbashing and the ableism and the bullshit. When I am needed I do my real work, and the rest of the time I fuck around with volcanoes, and actually that's pretty fucking brilliant.

(I mean it about Wednesday as downtime. Thursday through Sunday is going to be kinda hectic again, but I'm then intending to spend most of Monday asleep also once I've bundled P. out the door in the direction of the Eurostar; I know I'm kind of giddy at the moment and this maybe looks a bit concerning, but I promise you don't need to worry unless I don't get the downtime I'm committing to. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night and I pass by my not-exactly-an-altar and I smile at the art on my walls and I say "today I will try to make good choices", and those choices include that downtime, when it's scheduled. And by "downtime" I don't mean "the evening", I mean "I am unlikely to get out of bed for longer than it takes to shower", and in the meantime -- this, this, this. Only this.)
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
... which, of course, comes with ALL the disclaimers about how I am actually making this all up as I go along. Caveat emptor; how I react to situations is Known Odd so it won't necessarily work for you. Also, I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done/than be one of twenty to follow mine own teaching.

But, because I've ended up saying approximately this several times over the past week or so, have a blog post, I suppose?

One: get familiar with your insecurities, and learn to distinguish between intrinsic & extrinsic issues -- not because one is more important or more reasonable than the other (because that bullshit is bullshit), but because it makes it easier to work out workarounds and solutions. I'm not sure intrinsic vs extrinsic has been formalised by anyone, but I use it to mean: Shit I Am Bringing To The Table versus Shit Other People Have Done. So, like, my hypersensitivity to perceived exclusion and to imposing on people is My Stuff and being aware of it, and knowing it's not always rational, means that when Other People (hi guys, I love you, this is just a really good illustrative example ♥) don't tell me about plans or events, I can react appropriately. Specifically, in this example, the appropriate reaction is (1) I have Issues about this that are colouring my interpretations (2) I should ask for reassurance (3) we should work out what actually went wrong so it can not happen again, because we all like each other, and usually it turns out to be "... sorry, we forgot", or "... sorry, I assumed you didn't want to know about things you probably wouldn't be able to get to." (Whereas if I can't make that separation, I'm likely to go on a three-day bender involving serious depressive slump and crying myself dry before deciding that the best thing to do is to cut off all contact with the people in question.)

Two: be open to good-faith communication. This is basically rephrasing point one, which boils down to "trust yourself, and trust other people you have reason to trust and no reason to distrust, bearing in mind that past trauma is a completely legitimate reason to be wary." It is hard fucking work and nowhere like as simple as I make it sound, as you can tell from (a) my meltdown about it earlier today (see DW, etc) and (b) the amount of time and money I'm investing in counselling on the topic.

Three: scheduling.
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
Today involved barely managing to leave the house, plus a lot of swearing (only inside my head) at royalty and building management. (Seriously, folk, if you're going to tell people that the lift will go out of service at 1.45p.m., don't then decommission it at 1.30 when it is the only route the wheelchair user on floor 2 can take to get to the ground-floor room they're teaching in.) So! Good things.

1. My freshers. They were a bit more confused and "WHAT IS THIS" today, which is partly because the senior GTA who was writing up sample solutions decided to introduce numpy.linspace without it ever having been mentioned in the notes... but we mostly sorted ourselves out.

2. The colour the sky goes as the sun is setting on my way home at the moment is the exact green-into-blue of The Sky Above My Planet, which I have been wearing a lot over the past week or so, though I think I am probably going to switch to Keeper of the Lines tomorrow. (And hurrah for having choice.)

3. I got a glorious package from [personal profile] ghoti (yes the DW one not the LJ one), which is exciting as much for its exterior as its contents: I recognised it from way back from the pigeonholes, because it WAS COVERED IN DRAWINGS OF FISH. (And also sealed with quite possibly the best tape ever, in that it's light brilliant turquoise with white leaf-skeletons on it.)

Read more... )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
... but yesterday was on the whole entirely bearable and today is so far shaping up pretty well, give or take having nothing to do apart from sort of aimlessly read (which is a thing I HATE).

-- ah, no, wait, I can actually legit get started on reading for a lit review. Good. This is good.

So, yes: lift was broken, but via a slightly entertaining sequence of events I have ended up with access to both Bioengineering and the Business School, and thus can get up to my desk even when the main lift is down. Further, my desk has been moved from the third floor to the second, so that if the tiny-lift-for-four-steps breaks I don't have to deal with getting my chair up and down them by hand because I am NO LONGER ON THAT FLOOR (with the added benefit that I am now on the same floor as my supervisors and a KITCHEN and my MUGS and TEA I CAN DRINK).

Yesterday I had a moment of Abject Horror at the Imperial Library - they apparently completely disregard the preferred name field in the student e-service so were displaying my first name. However, I've just received an e-mail promising me this has been fixed.

And furthermore: Yesterday I managed not only grad social but subsequently eating in public at the hostel, in re which I am proud of myself; and this evening I will be going to From Sindbad to Sci-Fi: Reimagining Arab Science Fiction, which is a free event at which Amal el-Mohtar will be speaking (SO MANY EXCITE). So.

Furthermore I continue making progress with Python: to my astonishment and delight, I'm running into things I can't do straight off and instead of bursting into tears and becoming convinced I am not good at anything and will never be able to any of the things, I go away and do something else for a bit and let it percolate, and then I write an outline of what wants to happen, and then I... write code. And then, mostly, it works. I am seriously, SERIOUSLY proud of myself for this - and simultaneously mildly horrified that some of the PIs in my group consider me advanced and intimidating because I am learning to code sort-of for fun...

This afternoon I have a session with my counsellor, which I am really looking forward to: I think I've done a lot of Stuff about feelings and procesing and displaying emotions and how I interact with people, and I think we will have lots of good stuff to talk about (and probably also some processing about Monday, which was kind of traumatic but which I think I have - to my astonishment - mostly bounced back from.)

And finally, this week I am hosting at [community profile] poetree, so if you want to see me rambling about How Poems Work and sharing some of my favourites, that is a good place to find me (though I appear to be incredibly talkative here at the moment, too, so I doubt you will go short either way ;).

And, seriously, thank you all again so much for the solidarity and validation and the looking out for me: I remain incredibly grateful.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
status: not broken.

I - think I might have pulled this off.

Two papers and a viva to go; thank you all so, so much. ♥
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
They start tomorrow. Two weeks today I'll be comprehensively done.

I'm here. I'm alive.

Thank you. ♥
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  • the Discworld ConCom (seriously these people are AMAZING - like I e-mailed them last night to be all "thank you for having Mx as a default title! you're amazing! it made my day! who do I talk to about getting Msc added?" and by 8am had a "that's a trivial fix, I'll do it when I get home from work :-)" response) ♥_♥
  • my useless lovely ex -- ♥ to you, Chris
  • my lovely, lovely housemates, who do not flap at me when I slide gracelessly from my washing-up-stool to the floor, but merely ask what I need, get it for me rapidly and without fuss, and then let me get on with it
  • [personal profile] randomling, who has tonight held my hand through getting to grips with git, such that I will shortly be submitting HAVE JUST SUBMITTED my first DW patch since we migrated (thank you SO MUCH, sweetie ♥)
  • making a difference to communities I'm involved with -- in this instance, identifying bugs and filing them and documenting things I've done where existing documentation doesn't cover questions I had (and got answered); and adding more stuff to Things Real Dreamwidth Programmers Do while I was at it; and [community profile] vaginapagina, of course, and all the stuff I've done with that today
  • using my words and having it go okay
  • all of my fantastic friends. seriously, you guys are so great, I cannot even
  • being in a position to be all DO YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT I WANT RIDICULOUSLY HOMOSEXUAL HIPSTER CLOTHES and, um, I am so sorry, I now own ridiculously homosexual hipster clothes i'm not sorry at all BUT SERIOUSLY THOUGH: starting to put together how I want to look, as part of who I want to be, and (1) not feeling bad or superficial or shallow for wanting to feel comfortable and at ease in my body and (2) being in a position, financially, to act on that

life. sometimes it's pretty good. I am much, much more okay than I was, and I'm not sure why, but there we go, I'm not knocking it. ♥ (Actually, I suspect some of it is that an awful lot was swilling around in my head and it desperately wanted out? And then I a poem and I felt better, so.)
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
  1. I just bought myself a big pump bottle of unscented moisturiser for use on my hands: it's an easy way to do self-care, it makes me less likely to pick at them during anxiety spikes, and I get to play the fun game of working out which essential oil I want to scent it with (I am thinking something "warm" - cinnamon or vanilla or something elsewise woody).
  2. Keep two bottles of shower gel on the go. Whether I want cold/sharp scents or warm/soft scents (are those general associations? I'm not sure) is very dependent on e.g. the outside temperature, how well I slept, the time of day, and so on - and makes me much happier about washing (the shower is up the stairs; even with a shower stool, some days this is significant effort). Currently I have tea tree & mint, and shea butter & honey on the go. Next up in the "warm" stakes is "vanilla cookie", which I'm gently amused by.
  3. Use SuperBetter (thanks for finding it, [personal profile] randomling <3) to prompt myself to do physio, drink enough fluid, etc - and then reward myself for doing so.
  4. If a poem sticks with me, or someone says something particularly lovely to me, or I come across something I do find reassuring on the Internet - I make a special effort to copy it neatly and beautifully into my little black book (thank you [personal profile] jjhunter for suggesting this one!)
  5. I bought myself B vitamins and have added 1 a day to my meds boxes. I go through phases of taking B complexes; usually, they provide some boost to my mood, but once I've realised it might be helpful to get them I've usually lost the motive energy to actually do so. (In the same order, I picked myself up a tube of arnica cream. This is Really Important to me, for reasons of National Identity and Feeling Like A Grown-Up. In spite of all my other drugs, now my meds drawer contains arnica and Savlon? I feel much more prepared to take on the world.)
  6. Physio. Adding it to SuperBetter (and keeping a daily symptoms/life/etc diary) seems to be prompting me to actually do it more often. I do feel better when I get around to it (mostly during Workrave rest breaks), and it also gives me a chance to focus on my breathing a bit.
  7. I've noticed that I'm much worse at getting to sleep when I think I'm settling down for a Proper Sleep than when I think I'm going to have a nap, regardless of how tired I am. That level of self-awareness is going to be super-helpful in nudging me into working out why and taking steps to remedy it. (I'll experiment a little tonight...)
  8. I've started (patchily, but still!) filling my water bottle the night before morning lectures, so I'll have some fluid to be getting on with.
  9. In a similar vein, I've started keeping small lumps of flapjack in my bag, because I always need a sugar/carb boost by 11.
  10. ... and again: I've begun to prep mugs of tea for the morning (more intermittently than filling the water bottle ;): this consists of sticking a spoon of my nice loose-leaf rooibos (thanks to Aquarion!) into a teaball and leaving it in a mug, so the fine motor stuff is already dealt with when my alarm goes off (my motor skills tend to be worst in the hour or so after I've woken up, and when very tired).
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
It's been another year in which Neil Gaiman has done things which distress or annoy me, but it's also the first year in which I feel I can say that this wish came wholeheartedly true:
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

I got medicated. I didn't plan suicide. I started afresh with wanting to learn. I got DLA and a wheelchair - and another wheelchair. I took a train to Germany, cooked a huge pile of lasagna with [livejournal.com profile] footpad, (finally!) met his wonderful beautiful dog, and watched him get married. I spent a glorious, fantastic, nonsensical week in Singapore (with a day-trip to Malaysia) with [personal profile] noldo, [personal profile] mustela_nivalis, and [personal profile] azuire, and I've got the Myspace photo of the four of us on the southernmost point of continental Asia on my bedside table. I learned to code - I've got five? six? patches actually live in the actual Dreamwidth codebase. I migrated my Dreamhack from Mercurial Queues in a CVS repository to github. I went to Edinburgh for the Fringe - I never thought I'd be cool enough to do that. I went to Austria and read scientific papers and watched the swallows migrating and felt like I was home. I read and I wrote - poetry I take seriously; fanfic I take seriously; fanfic I really don't; songs for Lashings, safer space policies for VP; essays and analyses and notelets and most of my Master's project and my diary. I kissed really rather a lot of people who think I'm wonderful. I made a library; I made new friends; I made grad school applications.

I took care of myself. I made mistakes; I was kind, as much as I could be. I took care of other people, as much as I could do.

So here's my plan for 2013: I'm going to try to graduate, and if that doesn't work out that's okay. Whatever else happens, I'm going to spend the summer on me. Come autumn I'll move on to something new - and I don't yet know what, but I don't have to, either. I'm going to read poetry and novels and some more of the Hard Stuff, because I'm starting to be in a place where I can cope with that again. I'm going to finish watching Buffy and Angel. I'm going to write.

I'm going to take risks and I'm going to take care and I'm going to keep on finding out how to best be myself.

Thank you all, so much, for taking care of me and sticking with me this year. Here's to you. <3
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
This time last year was extremely rough for me. The recap in brief goes a little like this: two friends died, my master's project derailed, I got pneumonia, and one way or another I came around to find myself woefully out of my depth in the tarpit of depression.

I dropped out of my course, started anti-depressants around the new year, and start being able to remember anything other than a blur again from about March.

So many of you invested so much time into me then. Thank you.

I'm writing this now because my month of morning, November, is very nearly over; and because today I had the last of the counselling sessions I arranged when I was sorting out coming back to university.

The running themes have been very straightforward and very simple. We have, by and large, talked about boundaries; we've talked about acceptance and forgiveness; about my constructs of incompetence and my difficulty asking for help; about The Worst Thing In The World [content warning: abusive dynamics]; and about trusting myself: letting myself be afraid without spiralling into fear of fear, listening to my body, doing things I feel called to without judging myself for them. And, of course, about trusting other people - to tell me when to be quiet, to tell me that they like me and mean it, to not let taking care of me take precedence over caring for themselves.

We've talked about those things from a lot of different angles, in a lot of different lights. And... and I'm okay.

I'm okay.

I still have days where I am desperately, desperately mad, but that's six hours of an evening once every few months, and people I love - who love me - will sit with me through it, will keep me company while I verbalise nonsense beyond my conscious control, will cook with me and eat with me and curl up on the sofa and watch shitty TV with me.

Out of necessity I've grown used to treating bright patches in my health as temporary. I can sit with this, and I can accept it, and I can treat myself with kindness about it.

Today, we talked about how maybe - sometimes - it's okay for me to put that fear down - to recognise that I can be grateful for good health, that I can ask for help when things get worse, that things never have to get that mad, that bad, that lonely ever again, for me.

I am allowed to trust myself, and I am allowed to ask for help.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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