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)
A few years back, CN Lester gave a talk at the University of Oxford on trans histories,[0] containing the first reading from their excellent book Trans Like Me.[1][2]

During that talk, as you'll see if you watch it, they demonstrated the technique of assuming good faith almost ad absurdum -- well past the point at which any reasonable person might conclude that their interlocutor was hostile or indeed malicious, they maintain openness and curiosity and inquiry.

Since then I have taken a number of Very Deep Calming Breaths and done a bunch more learning about effective ways to engage in Debate should one wish, out of a sense of pragmatism, to Change Hearts And Minds, and this is one of the best tools I have.

I dither, still, over whether I'm comfortable describing something I'm consciously weaponising as "good faith"; over whether it still counts as "engaging in good faith" if I'm really very sure that the other party is in fact prejudiced, or bigoted, or wrong; if in fact the "show of good faith" is not about being open to having my mind changed, but about it being the most effective way to change theirs. Over and over I'm coming down on the side of "yes, more or less", because if nothing else I'm keeping hold of the idea that people might, that people can, change; that people are not condemned to be for ever their worst selves. I dither, but this is where I land.

And sometimes, just occasionally, the result is incremental change. At the moment -- in a general climate of the most 2018 thing I've heard in at least a week or so -- incremental change is what I'm hanging onto. So: here we are.

[0] Content notes for the introductory speech containing misgendering (emphatically corrected by the audience), trans history including 1930s Berlin, and cis audience members asking... questions.

[1] Interestingly reviewed by DRMaciver and subsequently referenced in a discussion of queer life as combat epistemology; relatedly, I've set up [syndicated profile] drmaciver_feed.

[2] I recently saw an analogy for gendered experience of self and proprioceptive sense of body that was new to me but which feels very compelling: how do you know if you're left- or right-handed? What happens when you try to use the "wrong" hand?
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Culinary skills acquired:
  • whetstone use (after a fashion)
  • baby's first marmalade
  • Kardemummebullar
  • cheese-making! (paneer; an ambition for the next year is mozzarella)
  • pasta (gosh but wrangling the machine is An Adventure)
  • macarons (via the magic of Italian meringue)

Miscellaneous other skills acquired:
  • finished the Duolingo Turkish tree
  • seriously levelled up in hair-dying skills (including managing a pretty good rendition of this general principle on a friend with a hair type I hadn't previously bleached or dyed, but I'm also pretty pleased with a peacock-shades oil slick, and Adam's current rainbow gradient from roots to ends)
  • submitted baby's first first-author paper, with Significant General Academic Progress, particularly with respect to Having Boundaries
  • acquired a physio/exercise regime that works for me (and then promptly let it lapse, but having acquired the principles I can come back to them)
  • substantially levelled up in technical writing on a reasonable and sustainable schedule
  • so. much. emotional. regulation.
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)
1. Fic. Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic, as recced to me by [personal profile] jedusaur, who was spot on, seriously, this is so good, it -- just -- everything. And similarly, though less fluffily, my end and my beginning by [personal profile] recessional (-ish the latest in your blue-eyed boys) is heartbreaking and grounding and amazing.

2. Other fanworks! In particular, today I have been having FEELINGS about this Orphan Black s1 fanvid set to Vienna Teng's Closer to Home, because it is perfect.

3. I made it to my wheelchair dealer and back without messing up public transport at all! It was pretty astonishing! I mostly didn't panic! My chair has been tuned up, I've got my repaired wheel back (thank you all, seriously, so much), and I had a good chat with someone else who was getting a chair tuned up.

4. I continue preposterously mushy about facesfriend in ways that are causing me great cheer, not least because he linked me to a bunch of photos (largely of LARP) to which my reaction was guh. For bonus points largest smallcousin grabbed me and was all SO YOU SAID YOU'D TELL ME ABOUT YOUR NEW BLOKE so I got to gossip with her, and it was great!.

5. My housemate made me pizza last night even though I was out, and I ate it all for lunch, and it was great and amazing and delicious and I am super super lucky.

6. SOFA WAS STILL THERE and housemate very patiently helped me get it down the stairs. It is now drying off a bit outside. I am assured that I only think it's incredibly vibrantly purple because I am a geologist, and it is in fact grey or possibly taupe. ('s purple.)

7. I did make it into work despite having to navigate public transport by myself, and got done some labwork that I've been blocking on (hurrah!). Now I just need to keep up momentum and go in tomorrow to do a bit more handling of Stuff, but that should be doable.

8. I tidied the kitchen! It was a multi-stage process but it made me happy, because having a clean kitchen is happy, and I sorted it out while housemate's guest cooked us dinner, and <3 (I also tidied my room a bit, HURRAH.)

9. Out of largely-idle curiousity I attempted a French plait on myself for the first time in several years and to my utter astonishment I did a reasonably tidy job, which means VICTORY and more specifically that I am going to do that thing more of the time as optimal for a. keeping hair off my face and b. my gender presentation (idek).

10. ... no okay pretty much you are all fantastic and I am so lucky to have you around me. Thank you, so so much; I am so grateful for your kindnesses & generosities & for how much you are willing to trust me. I will continue to do my best to deserve it. ♥

(AND ALSO: my Yuletide fic is well over wordcount and just needs another paragraph or two, then tidying, and I have finally worked out what on Earth is going on with it; and I have finished washing out a honey jar with decorative embossed glass bees on it to hold tealights for when I want Ritual Fire. And -- just -- yes. Yes.)
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: Trans symbol 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)
It is light outside when I wake up for early starts. It is light while I eat breakfast, when I walk over the road to the station. I sit on the District line with sunshine through the windows: it's above ground between home and work. There's some clematis and - a plant I know only as "abominable potato weed", sorry[1] - growing enthusiastically in a garden that backs onto the platforms.

Breakfast was apple-and-pear juice, a beautifully ripe satsuma, and a pear and hazelnut muffin made for me by CN Lester because of the boything.

I finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Engraved on the Eye (free collection of short stories; it's fantastic). I turned to [personal profile] alexconall's poetry collection Lavender Blue (and other poems) (also available for free), discovered it's dedicated to me, and promptly burst into happy tears on the tube at 7am.

I got in to work in good time, via the gingko coming out outside the Royal Albert Hall and a string of beautiful I-believe-military horses being trotted down Exhibition Road. I've started my columns, and so far they're running nicely. I'm wearing Fils de Dieu and continuing to adore it. I'm reading Audre Lorde's The Black Unicorn in lab, and it's fantastic.

Today is pretty brilliant so far.

[1] It's not Lycianthes rantonnetii or Solanum rantonnetti ("Royal Robe"). Hmm. Looks like this var. "blue potato bush", but none of the other photos for that search term are quite right - it's definitely got the pointier petals that point back upwards, and the flower clusters. - ah ha! Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', there we go. [ETA for interest -- my initial search term was "potato weed purple flowers" and that was the chain of results I followed to get an answer. :-) ]


Apr. 10th, 2014 05:31 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)
I think the controlled fall I took from my chair at the dining table to the floor twenty minutes ago (& still no signs of wanting to get up) 1. validate my decision to not try leaving the house today and 2. particularly validate my call that spending at least half an hour standing up handling HF would be a Very Bad Plan.

Meanwhile, still no news from the dwp.
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: Trans symbol 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: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] naamah_darling's launched a new blog: "I want to show people what living with my mental illness is like. Visibility is a major factor in reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. For many people, though, it’s risky talking about these things, for having “crazy” be the first thing people know about you. People have to keep themselves safe, and many cannot speak out."

And, you know, there's all sorts of reasons I think it's very important to talk - and talk publicly - about mental illness. So: hi. I have chronic depression with anxiety; I've been depressed at least since I was thirteen. I strongly suspect I also have undiagnosed PTSD.

I started medication when I was 21, because I couldn't put it off any longer. I'd delayed seeking diagnosis for so long because of the stigma: both medically, in that it would have been even harder to get my chronic pain diagnosed if doctors could happily dismiss it as somatisation, and socially/academically. As it is, I took a year out of my undergraduate degree, and every time someone asks about it I have to decide between the bland and anodyne "for health reasons" and the braver - and more informative - "I went very, very mad".

Crazy is a thing I am. It's a thing I can't hide, even if I want to: ask me, maybe, about the times I've suddenly realised, walking through a supermarket or shopping centre, that I've been muttering out loud for several minutes. Or, well, ask me about the way it impacts on my work.

But: "crazy", being crazy, isn't the bad thing here, particularly: it's hard, some days or weeks or months, but I am medicated and I have people and I have a counsellor and mostly, for the time being, I'm alright.

The bad thing is the way people react to "crazy": the way that in trivialising it they trivialise me, or that in fearing it or despising it, it is me they fear or despise, or that in being visibly crazy in public I put myself in danger - and in more than one sense this is not something I can control.

Here's another thing: it feels very strange to say "I am depressed" when my medication and support network are currently keeping me functionally not-depressed [most of the time]. But: I have endometriosis even when I'm not in pain; I have endometriosis even when my painkillers, or my GnRH agonists, or whatever, are working. And I am aware - and sometimes it is painfully, desperately aware - that the only things between me and my illness are my daylight lamp and 30mg a day - forty in winter - of citalopram hydrobromide. Like [personal profile] jjhunter says: and 'history of depression' means there's no defense/perfect enough to keep it from coming back; like Onsind say: yeah it gets better / but it also could get worse / tainted blessing, stubborn curse / and all the same, you just take it day by day (by day by day).

And that? That is why I am going to keep on talking.


kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

April 2019

1 2 3 4 56 7
8 9 101112 13 14
1516 1718192021


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios