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My experiences at Queer Collaborations last week highlighted my need to (probably) make this one the last QC I attend.

Why so? Well for one I've been to seven QCs, and overall although the individual events vary greatly, overall they are a repeating pattern that doesn't change much. At an average QC there will be at least one issue of great contention fought bitterly on the floor which upsets the noobs; there will be a good deal of socialising outside the official events; there is a certain "on tiptoes attitude" which while well intended obscures issues affecting sub cultures within the attending Queer Community; and for me, there tends to be something that "triggers" me. This year's was no exception.

When I look back at the QC, more often than not something there triggers me. Brisbane in 1997 didn't though I did feel a little overwhelmed. Newcastle in 2001 induced a huge panic attack after tensions on the floor got out of hand (read about it here) and I had to be driven home. For Perth 2005 it was the Kiss-in at the Red Lion that triggered me (guess who never gets kissed) and I was walked to Perth Station by Thom. Never happened in Sydney for 2006 but others did get triggered. In Canberra 2009 I was too cold to notice, and sooner or later everybody who stayed at the hostel in Dixon was sick anyway. At Wollongong in 2010 I got triggered in the Woman's Caucus and later at the first nights meal over issues of isolation and alienation - later I almost choked on pretzels.

This year's trigger was someone using my laptop to check a pornography DVD for their workshop related to a trans porn star. I had thought that I wouldn't be affected by this, but I was (I have problems saying "NO"). I don't think of myself as a prude but how on earth is a scene where one of the actors pees while sitting in a sink sexy? After it was checked I had a huge anxiety attack, no doubt related to anxieties surrounding lack of sexual and physical contact. Thing was, I can't predict what will set me off so that means in effect that as a whole QC is not a "safe space" for me.

And I seem to be getting diminishing returns. I hate to admit it but last year I was mostly bored at QC. It was hard for me to whip up enthusiasm for much of it. This year I spent more time hanging out in the queer space than not. I met some interesting people there and watched more than a few films and TV shows. But it says something when the most memorable stuff was what's on TV! Not that there weren't interesting panels and workshops. For me the issues over Gender Recognition legislation (which I'd helped draft) were important and it was helpful to meet Zoe again. Also realising that pansexual was a useful label for me was good thing. Though I felt discounted in the woman's caucus I was glad to volunteer for the Plenary on Mental Health and share my experiences as a client in that area. A pity then that the thing was on Saturday and barely 20 attended.

More over, my current issues related to heath and fitness affected my capacity to enjoy or participate in the conference. At 136 kg I am obese by any definition and this affects my asthma, and the arthritis in my right leg. The result was that by the end of the conference that leg in general and the knee in particular were hurting almost continuously. Got to do something about these problems, but losing weight is easier said than done when there are difficulties exercising. This is also the reason I didn't go to the clubs and pubs much. The events there were geared towards the young and/or the fit, of which I'm neither. When I did the tourism thing on Monday (by visiting the W.A. Art Gallery and Museum) I felt tired and hurting by the end of it.

I am glad I ran the QC: Is it worth it? workshop. This addressed the issues of how people return value from QC to others at their universities, but what came out of it was also the varying levels of funding and support that each collective gets on an annual basis. When you only have a $1000 dollars for a whole year's budget sending more than one person to QC in another state becomes problematic.

That being the case, I probably won't be going to QC in Adelaide next year. I do have a couple of ideas for workshops - one on Mental Health and another on virtual queers (in SL and elsewhere) - but I feel uncomfortable going to any more QCs and being subsidised for that. If I go (about a 25% chance at the moment) it will be under my my own funding, representing myself only. However, the other thing is that I've been thinking of going to other events on around the same time. NOWSA (feminist conference) might be more interesting for me, as might SOS (ecological). Maybe I should look for a Fine Arts conference instead?

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Lammas was a day or so ago. I was going to write a long and detailed contemplation. But I think I will post this instead. Read in it what you will!


 

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Minesweeper is one thing, Shisen-Sho another. This is another Mahjong solitaire type game, where you can remove pairs of tiles from the board under certain conditions, but everything is stacked 1 high. Only two matching tiles can be removed at a time. Two tiles can be removed only if they can be connected with a maximum of three lines. Lines can be only horizontal or vertical, but not diagonal. Lines may cross only the empty border. The game is over if future moves are not possible and tiles are left on the board, or the player successfully removes all the tiles.

I played this a lot last year when I was nervous.Apart from being a "time waster" and hence good for procrastination) I also found it a good indicator when I was having vision problems (and I have had some over the last few years, including strange rainbow migraines and glare induced weirdness) it was also a good indicator on analysis and planning on my part. When I was centred I could play the game fine. When I was upset, or sick, there was no point.

The version I prefer to play is by Daniel Valot. In fact I liked it so much I made two tile sets for the game (the one above based on Windows Wingdings, and a SubGenius version), which were later included in the distribution. You can vary the rules and the size of the board, and the window is scalable, so you can shrink it to a corner of the screen. I like to play with some additional rules, namely that a tile can only be removed if one of the pair removed has either the top or bottom edge clear of other tiles (and either top or bottom for the whole game). And my preferred size board is 24 x 12 - any larger than that and it is too easy to solve, and smaller and a solution becomes either trivial or problematic.

Anyway, like Minesweeper, this solitaire game seems to have a life lesson for me. Success in the game is about planning. Often whole sets and areas of tiles are blocked because tiles next to them don't seem to be clearable. But often as well, that only seems to be the case for the current turn. If a player concentrates on the moves they can make - rather than the ones they can't - often either another way of removing those tiles becomes apparent, or it becomes redundant anyway when the tiles can be removed because others have been removed already. Either that, or the situation becomes unsolvable, and if you want, you can try the starting configuration again.

And here I am seeing yet another metaphor for life. Often with my own situations, if concentrate or focus on problems that are not immediate, they often seem to be unsolvable, because I cannot work out how I get there from here. But often if I'm focussed on the now, instead of what was or what will be, it doesn't matter. The imagined problem either goes away (it wasn't a real problem after all) or becomes redundant because I've solved a more immediate problem anyway. Other times if I have just a general idea of where I'm going, but not an over detailed map of what it is, I find that I've been focussed on that while I've been dealing with day-day stuff anway, and I'm closer to the goal than I thought.

So, a second metaphor for life, maybe another dumb one, but just something that struck me as I played the game.

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You know, the QC conference was overall a good time for me, even though I broke down emotionally on the first night at the Uni Bar (pubs are not my scene), and choked on pretzels on movie night. Despite, or in addition to these I was able to loosen up a bit and share some of my fears and concerns to a few folk. And the emotional breakdown I've come to expect for myself, so I was happy to get it out of the way at the start of the thing.

I felt back then old and sick and ugly. No change to that right now, it's just that I'm not letting it get to me.

But other things were tagged for action somewhere down the line. Looking at myself in a mirror at Castro's, I looked like a beach ball with legs - there was no waist, no shape that I desire to keep there. And for the whole of the conference, I was huffing and panting just walking down the street to the shuttle bus let alone into town. The spur on my foot played up a lot so I really didn't want to dance much either. Thing is that the spur might not be that much of a problem, provided that I lose weight. I had other problems with my legs as well - sharp pains in my upper thighs which I have no idea are, but are uncomfortable all the same. My ankles seemed to go at times as well.

It wouldn't hurt to lose weight, but it's difficult for me to do so.

My asthma was playing up as well I think, though that was a minor irritant. What was out in force was fear brought on by my anxiety disorder. I couldn't stay at the Woman's Caucus because of a reaction to the question ("what's your preferred pronoun?") in the name round. Had more than a few instances where I just had to leave.

These problems are getting worse, and I don't really know what to do.
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For anyone who is TRANSSEXUAL, this is initially a "no-brainer". The "obvious" reaction is to say that one would prefer to have been born in the "correct gender." Yes, that would be great, but I'm not so sure about that. I wrote a poem a long time ago, called "The Price", and in it I have a line that reads ....for gender's but a vessel, to keep your soul within.

I think in many ways this is another mis-thought question that one sees in Writer's Block, suggested perhaps by someone who wouldn't change much at all, but curious about others. Anyone who's seen either of the Butterfly Effect films will know that all change or alternation comes with consequences. The main characters in each were driven by regret abut what happened, and what they didn't do in the past. But after such changes they had all the memories of the previous versions of reality, and that was the flaw in it all, because no matter what their reality became, there was always an element that about it that would never compare with the original. It was a no win situation, and no wonder the films had pretty much the same outcome.

So, if I were to have a "do-over" (actually the subject of a story I haven't drawn yet) I definitely wouldn't want to have a memory of the original. So then the question is what would I redo. Possibilities:

  • Different sex - Would I prefer to have been born with XX instead of XY chromosomes? Maybe, but who's to say that might not have still had gender dysphoria, becoming an F2M instead of an M2F? Going further would be the above, but with the rider of no such condition. I think I would be a very different person from who I am right now. Maybe I would have married the first boy who took an interest in me, or got me pregnant. And maybe now I would have been guilty of murder (either someone else's or my own). I might have run away at home when I was 14, taken to the streets and become an uncaring sex worker. Or maybe I would still be home looking after my mother, having not moved, not gone to TAFE or university.
  • No epilepsy - What if I'd never have had meningitis or epilepsy? My confidence might have been intact for much longer. I may have been involved in more fights at primary and high school. I may have been a practising artist for over 20 years by now. I might have learnt to drive and swim in my teens, instead of doing so when I was 30. Or I may have just been a bully, or maybe my art would be fairly average, instead of like this comic, which I've received more than a few "thank you for doing this" from people over the years.
  • Earlier gender transition - I used to think sometimes that I should begun my transition in my teens or early 20s (in the late 1970s) rather than when in my late 30s (in the 1990s).  But, I know that I just wasn't strong enough to have done so at that age. I was still reeling from the effects of my epilepsy and the medication I took for it. And things seemed tougher back then for folk like myself. Also, surgical techniques seemed to be cruder back then, less refined and less able to give one a good result. It took time for me to be who I am.
  • Better eyesight - this would have been nice. I would have been ale to read the blackboard at primary school and not now have bifocals. Might have changed slightly how others have related to me, or maybe not. Even so, this seems the least likely candidate for a single change.
  • Different parents - can' say that it ever crossed my mind. I come from a working class background. What would I change?

The truth of the matter is, that even if I might be tempted to change something about myself, is that I wouldn't even if i had the opportunity. Who knows that would be absent from my life by such changes? I might never have: moved out from home, or from Western Australia; gone to TAFE/University; owned Pegasus; met either Lee, Jenny or Carol; or drawn comics or done art at all. And these things, for better or worse, have been or are important in the life I do live.

Fuck having a "do over card", I just need to do now, in the here and now, what i need to do.

Quiet Week

Dec. 5th, 2009 09:25 am
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It's been a quiet week since I got back from Mittagong. Mostly, this has been because Kevin and Michelle have been away. Only been out (for long) twice. The biggest issue I've had has been coping with a mad anti-virus program, which did strange things to my Windows Verification (which kept telling me that my Windows install wasn't genuine - all fixed now). And weather has been so nice, after the "bake and wait" temperatures of the last week.

I think though, that it's time to get back to doing my comics, sorting out some home maintenance (need a new toilet suite and element in the oven) and start on a suggestion by my counsellor - doing a "what happen to me in the last 12 months" type newsletter for friends and family.

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Seems I'm back to a free account on LJ, with only six userpics. Hmmm - do I want to pay to get more? My current set is now (mysteriously):


Bored


Happy 


Laura


Pets


Tired


TV

It may be that LJ has picked the icons I use most (which says a lot about me). I can probably change this, though I wonder if I should. I tend to be "cheap" when it comes to spending money - I have some in a paypal account but have no credit card, so payment (if forthcoming) has to be through that.

Or, I might be even cheaper still. Even if I can only select six icons, it seems that the rest are still at http://www.livejournal.com/editpics.bml and I only have to copy the image location (Firefox is good at that) and insert it manually into a post (like with this paragraph).

A good Day

Feb. 12th, 2009 08:36 pm
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Went and saw my counsellor today. She picked up from me that I seemed more settled than usual, and I realised that she was right. Not sure why exactly, and it may be a combination of things, but just right now I feel very centred. And this is odd.

Today has been a coldish wet day - a perfect day to stay home and enjoy small comforts - but I've been out and about for most of it. Buses have been running early and late all day, and I had to run to catch the one home, but I didn't feel flustered because of that. I went window shopping at Jesmond, real shopping at Wallsend, visited Centrelink and the library, and joined a discount food agency (they resell "used by" food at very cheap rates). And I coped. I didn't panic, didn't let everything get on top of me, even though I was coughing heavily at least twice today.

It's been a while since I could say that - say that I was centred and "here" and not thinking of the past or the future too much, but I was.

And it's been a good day because of that.

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I'm currently working through The Dead Zone TV series as my daily breakfast show. Anyway, yesterday I watched an episode called Cycle of Violence in which John Smith has a vision of a high school student doing a "Columbine" style shooting. For various reasons the episode struck a deep chord in me.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about the star of the show - <td class="nm">Anthony Michael Hall. I remember the first thing I saw him in, the film The Breakfast Club (1985) where he plays a high school student. Really funny the changes in 20 years, as the photos below show: </td><td class="ddd"></td>

I really like The Dead Zone. I've a long history of watching "I can see visions/know and change the future" type shows like Quantum Leap, Early Edition, and Medium. The good ones pose a moral question of just what one should do if one could change thing (usually for someone else) for the better. The thing about Johnny Smith is that he sees exact video type visions (complete with 360° walk-through snapshots) that are usually exactly right.  The issue becomes one of morals - should he interfere and if so how. Love it (though oddly enough I can't stand <td valign="top" align="right"></td><td valign="top">Ghost Whisperer whereas I loved Dead Last)</td>! The writing is overall, good.

I had other weird connections too lately. I borrowed a copy of St. Trinian's : the entire appalling business by Ronald Searle.

These were the original cartoons (much like the ones by Charles Addams that inspired The Addams Family) that inspired the series of Films in the late 1950s  (and the recent restart). They are very dark and mischievous. I can imagine Gomez and Morticia sending Wednesday to St.Trinians (where she'd thrive)! I can also imagine St. Trinian's taking on Hogwarts - there's plenty of non-muggles at the school.

Which brings me to another connection - Flash Harry. Harry is the shady connection that the St.Trinian's girls have with the underworld. Originally he was a black marketeer. He was also played by George Cole in four of the films. And what was I watching before The Dead Zone? Why Minder of course, where he plays Arthur Daley (who could very well be Flash Harry 'grown up')! What goes around comes around.

 

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Oddly enough this is something I've occasionally thought about. The main ideas have crossed my mind sometimes:

  • Bush BBQs, as suggested by Doug Thorpe a long long time ago (free meat).
  • Having my body wrapped in a plastic bag and hurled from a helicopter over the sea so that in 2-3 weeks time some poor jogger discovers my partly decomposed remains on the beach. It might make the newspapers and maybe TV for 30 seconds.
  • Left on a platform for vultures or small birds to peck at until only the bones remain - but I'm not Parsee so really that'd be a gimmick. Also, where does one get vultures from in Australia.
  • Having it "bronzed" just like in Man of Flowers. This was all the rage in Victoria times for a brief period, not just bronzed baby shoes!
  • Shot into space on a shuttle or its replacement. Trouble is I don't have the money for that.
  • Cryogenically frozen for the future. Several problems with this. Would I trust the company to be able to keep me frozen until whenever? Why would people from the future revive me any way? Read too many SF stories where either such frozen bodies were used as a ready meat source (variant of Bush BBQs) or the dead actually end up in a virtual hell.
  • Donated to anatomy classes / posterity / transplants. Hmmm. No. Don't want anyone cutting my body up like that, even if it might save lives - it's too creepy.
  • Buried next to Poogle. Who would dig the grave, and how would the house be sold afterwards? I'll be happy top meet him on that Rainbow Bridge.

Truth is that really death, although sometimes a spectre for me, is something I have planned for or thought about much on the after event. My religious view is that my personality will disintegrate with the shut down of my body, but that the spirit - the part of me that connects with the divine - will go on. That being the case, what does it matter?

It's Lammas today down here. I might post about this some more later.

Eternity

Jan. 18th, 2009 11:35 pm
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I don't normally watch Opera, but I had to look at The Eternity Man which aired on ABC1 tonight. It's based on the life of Arthur Stace, who for over 30 years (almost 500,000 times), wrote "Eternity" in Copperplate using chalk across Sydney.

It was a strange and gripping experience, manic in extreme and yet oddly symbolic. Consider that his message was written in a medium subject to easy erasure. In the opera, as time moves on, his symbol starts to become appropriated and reused by those around him. He finds a homeless person wearing it on a t-shirt, and long after he died (in real life) it was illuminated to mark New Year's Day of the year 2000, on the Sydney Harbour Bridge (and is now a trademark of the City of Sydney). 

We all but drops in the ocean of Eternity, swept from one wave to another, only fleetingly with the illusion of permanent form and position.

Today...

Dec. 31st, 2008 10:30 pm
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...was OK, until K & M left for the fireworks display on the foreshore, and I started watching TV. I kept on thinking of times past.

SBS had Dinner for One on. I'd seen this years ago when i was involved with Chameleons back in Perth. I have a tape copy which was given to me by "Party Michelle" who had cancer is now probably "Dead Michelle" (though back then, there was someone else we called that name). All about refusing to accept the present by clinging to the rituals of the past. Very funny, but also very sad.

Ten had an ABBA special on. I love ABBA, but somehow it just made me spiral on old times, and the lack of things once had. Most of their songs are about two people, and today (or tonight) I feel that absence. There was some Twenty to Ten thing on Nine about celebrations. No thanks. I think I'll have my now usual "quiet night" instead.

I used to go out with people on New Year's Eve and join in the celebrations, but it seemed that more often than not, doing so just heightened the sense of isolation in me, rather than connection. I really hate the period from December 24th to January the 1st - it just wrecks my equilibrium.

Might go on to Second Life later and see what's on. Then again, I might just go to bed.

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It's been a month today that Pegasus died, and here I am contemplating about what's happened in that month.

Pegasus 1997-2008Yesterday I was sitting out the back on the sofa with Bobby (Hallie had gone back inside) and put a CD on the player. Hadn't realised that it was the same one I'd played when burying him, and at the wake. It only took a few seconds before I burst into tears.

There's been barely a day I haven't cried over not having him in my life. But the mundane and relentless reality of the situation, regardless of any religious or spiritual beliefs, is that life (for me) goes on and nothing I can do can ever bring him back into this one (after is another possibility).

Every time I think I'm "over" that fact, something happens that sets me off.

My reactions

At first this was utterly intolerable. Peggy died (and I buried him) while Kevin and Michelle were away and that first weekend, until I had the dream of him going, and the wake, was the hardest ever. Things seemed OK but then when Kevin and Michelle were off again the following weekend, I got suicidal. It seemed that the only way out was to run away for a bit, and that;'s exactly what I did. Things have settled down since then, and I did, finally, speak to Kevin about my feelings of betrayal and being let down. And it really helped when I finally talked to my counsellor.

See, I had thought that I'd killed Pegasus by negligence. My old family dog, Snoopy, lived until he was 16. On two occasions when he accompanied my parents on expeditions into the bush (for firewood) he had a heart attack - but my mother gave him CPR and brought him back. After speaking to a lot of people, it seems that that's what Peggy had - only I couldn't (despite my 1st Aid training for humans) bring him back, and the guilt weighed heavy on me.

I suspect though, that no matter what I did, Pegasus's time was up. He'd been ill earlier in October on the 9th, and then recovered somewhat. But from then on I had the foreboding that Peggy was not long in this life. Several times  I was in the lounge (or out the back) on the sofa with Hallie and Bobby. Pegasus was there too but just out of site. It seemed an eerie vision of what was to come. I made sure in the three weeks after that I paid him even more attention, patted him, and so on. But facing his death has been one of the hardest things I've done - much harder than my father's death. My father died after a long convalescence in a nursing home 4000km away. Pegasus died almost in my arms. But I know now, that it was only a matter of time, and  Peggy will always be in my heart.

Afterwards

There are some odd coincidences and effects centred around Peggy's death.

I was giving Peggy pain killers for his arthritis and those tablets were all used up on the day of his death. My left knee had been giving me trouble for a few months - so bad that I got a walking stick - and since his death it's been troubling me less and less. See, Peggy's rear left leg was the one he injured and the one that gave him pain. Were my pains sympathetic in nature?

It's more likely that they are related to my lack of exercise and being overweight. I always loved walking Pegasus, but as he got older his energetic trot slowed down to a very leisurely pace, and a walk around the neighbourhood that used to take 30 minutes would take an hour or more - not good exercise, really. But since his death, I've walked Bobby every day but one, and walked Hallie and Bobby numerous times (often bush walks), so it's more likely that I'm getting more exercise now.

I'm coughing less now. Pegasus, for a short haired dog, shed hair all the time everywhere. While Peggy was alive there were short white hairs all over the house. And I always seemed to cough a lot. Since Peggy's death that hair has slowly been disappearing every time I vacuum, and I've been coughing less. Interestingly, when Hallie (another short haired dog) sleeps on my bed, I tend to wake up coughing.

Moving on

After the Poogle died, I made changes. His old dry food went to Hallie, and Bobby got his canned food. I cleared away the remains of the pills and other stuff I had in the garden shed for him. Since then it's been difficult to just sit under the trees on the sofa without him. But I am, and it makes a difference to my peace of mind. At first I felt guilty playing with and walking the other two dogs, because Peggy wasn't there. But just because they're not Pegasus is no reason to ignore them, and I play with them more and more lately.

1983 Snoopy PaintingI intend to paint Pegasus's portrait and hang it in my lounge. When Snoopy died in 1983, I was doing a painting course at TAFE and painted his portrait (see right). I need to do  this for Pegasus too. Snoopy's portrait hangs in my mother's bathroom, but Peggy's will go in my lounge I think.

And tomorrow I leave on my trip to Perth. Although I've felt the need to visit my family and friends since late last year (especially after my aunty died), Peggy's death has highlighted the need to reaffirm my roots.

I'm taking photos of him with me.

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This Morning was the first time in a week that I didn't have Hallie up early and with me. I love her, but she's Kevin's dog and very hyper. Anyway, fed the cats and took Bobs for a walk. The walk took less than 30 minutes (up the alley way and back down Charlton St), quickest yet.

08-11-05 SallyOnly one dog barked at us on the walk - Sally. Sally belongs to someone leaving in Bendigo St, but nowadays she squats at the house opposite. The day Pegasus and I moved in here we were greeted by two things: a Kookaburra laughed at us while we were in the backyard, and Sally came into my driveway and barked at both of us. She's been doing that every since, and it seems she still barks at me.



2008-11-05 Gabby2008-11-05 BobbyAnyway, got home, went out the back and fed Bobby. And I actually sat down for a bit on the sofa, and read some. Gabby was hanging around for a bit, looking like she wanted a lap to sit on. And then I happened to look at the mandarin bush. I saw the sunlight breaking over the fence, just touching it, and I smiled. It was a sad smile, but one I cherished. Didn't cry until much later.



2008-11-05 Mandarin Bush (wide shot)

Free Will?

Nov. 2nd, 2008 09:47 am
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Bugger - can't get to sleep - I have this doubt since Pegasus's death last night and it won't go away. This contemplation feels more like one for Sahmain than Beltaine. I may have posted some of the following before.

The Details )

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Well I caught the bus ok, but it was a long day. I went to...

  1. Wallsend Library, returning a book that I thought I'd lost;
  2. the Employment Agency, where my key worker agree with me to put me on hold until my mental / physical health is better;
  3. the Regional Gallery, where I saw an exhibition of digital portraits (including a work by Stelarc);
  4. Civic Library, where I spent 90 minutes just sitting on a chair and browsing through a large book of traditional games;
  5. Maroba Nursing Home where I saw Jenny for maybe 15-20 minutes;
  6. Jesmond Stocklands (where I got a sandwich), hoping to catch a connecting bus to;
  7. Wallsend, where I was dropped at the wrong spot and ran down the road just in time to catch the last bus home.

Long day doesn't describe it. I got home, fed the pets and collapsed in front of the TV for a bit. Mentioned all the above to Kevin, who said it was a good day even if a busy one. Maybe he's right. I wasn't quite "all there" yesterday at times, but I did get stuff done (see the next few posts).

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This has been a fairly muddled and hap-hazard year for me. It's been extremely hard for me to maintain focus on anything for long. I've been recurrently "low" in my emotional state, and artistically constipated (last web comic page was on the 16th August!).

The Save Our Souls panel at TINA yesterday discussed these problems.

Distractions

I think much of that was influence by my home environment. Having 5-6 pets (I included Hallie, Kevin's dog in the count) means that there's always distractions here. And until recently, I had my computer in the same room as the TV, and my drawing desk in the kitchen (where I could still see the TV). Not conducive to focus.

That's changed a bit with the computer and drawing table now in the front room or study, where I don't have people looking over my shoulder and there's no TV. But it seems very easy to still be distracted.

One of those distractions is having my e-mail client checking for email at regular intervals. When I hear the "you have mail" I feel obliged to check it out, and reply if appropriate. Today I've set those functions to OFF. Apart from initially when I load Thunderbird, it'll only check for mail when I want it to. A small thing, but it's a start.

Come next year when I start the Masters, it might be a good Idea to go down to the university most days, even if all I do is stare into space at the Huxley Library. René Magritte would work 9-5 in a studio down the road from where he lived. It focussed what he did, and removed distractions. If I can't keep focus, then nothing's going to be achieved.

Self Esteem

One of the things mentioned at the SOS panel was the need to be around people into or doing similar things. I'm not talking groups accessible via the net here because ultimately that's all abstract anyway, but real life folk in face-to-face situations. I haven't had much of that in the last two years, ands I feel my emotional/mental health has been on the verge of deteriorating as a result.

I used to go out regularly if not all the time - I'd go to Necropolis or a club down in Sydney and dance the night away. When I had the car / scooter I could park it at a station and catch the train down to Sydney or elsewhere, so it was a lot easier to see exhibitions or in fact anything of interest, like concerts or whatever.

With no car/scooter (and the bicycle isn't a substitute) I've been pretty much limited to what I can get to in the Newcastle area during public transport hours (last bus home yesterday was at 6:03pm from Glendale). The exceptions have been the two occasions where I've gone shopping or to an event with Kevin and Michelle, and that is not a reliable assist.

So practically my social circles have been decreasing. When I saw my counsellor on Monday, she suggested that I needed to go out and meet people. After Kevin and I had "a bit of a talk" he suggested the same thing. I feel like I'm dying here, shrivelling up through lack of emotional stimulation. Shit, no wonder I've stopped doing web comics. Hugs on LJ are one thing, but real hugs in real life would go a lot further!

Need to re-establish doing real-life stuff with real people.
Suggestions anyone?

laura_seabrook: (Default)

I found out yesterday that one can set visibility of the groups that one is a member of so that they don't appear on one's profile to others (it's a tick box in the group's profile). That being the case, it's possible to have it both ways in SL - you can be both a member of the groups that you want, but still be in "stealth" so that no one else necessarily knows.

Second life is at times problematic for me. I've discovered that I enjoy making clothes, accessories and avatars, like the Daria Morgendorffer one shown to the right - I created an ALT Laurel Galli just to focus on building and learning.

I still use my original avatar Elsie Broek for socialising and support. Groups like [livejournal.com profile] gimpgirl (which has both an SL and LJ presence) do help.  But some times I find that SL just magnifies the insecurities and anxieties that beset me in real life. Until I get to know people in RL, it can be hard for me to be comfortable with them. I get the "I don't know what to say" block.

I had thought that in SL I might try and connect with people who acknowledge their transgender status (even though there's no need for them to do so), as that would be a point in common. I've been finding the too most obvious trans support groups there to be less than helpful. When I go to the Transgender Lounge I sometimes feel less supported than before, and the Resource Centre is a very hit and miss (though if I ever buy land in SL I want a house like that one).

It may be that I'm making a mistake by going back to these places. In RL I seem to be in a "post trans" state where issues of transition as such seem well behind me, and day to day existence after transition involves different sets of issues. And yet, finding places in RL where I'm comfortable, or can chat with people in a casual and open way about RL, seem very scarce indeed. I know that this is as much my own issue as anyone else's. As a consequence, I seem to find myself feeling more and more isolated in SL of late.

So perhaps I need to consider how much time I'm spending in SL and what I'm doing with it. I haven't drawn a new web comic since 13th August, and am starting to feel that maybe my time and attention is being diverted into SL instead.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

I was confused earlier today. I attended a pagan ritual via Second Life. Trouble was that the ritual was for Litha, not Yule. This was after deciding not to go to the Winter Festival up at Katoomba (just not up to it after the flu).

It's been a very confusing day. Apart from that action, I've been mowing lawns and fixing holes in fences. Probably overdue, but tedious all the same. And a worry because it might be the start of ongoing problems with fencing, as the house next door is up for sale. I've been very lucky so far because neither neighbour has pressed me much on the state of the fences. It's all part of living next to others, but it feels almost beyond me at the moment.

I've been getting over this horrible flu, after having my moped fall on me. For so long now it's been difficult for me to concentrate and focus. I feel like I've made no further progress in goals important to me than I had six months ago. I just seem, well drifting.

Too many worries, too many distractions? Maybe. I've taken some steps over this, which mainly is undertaking a course in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I don't know if this will make a difference but I'm open to the possibility that it might. Sounds very self-help pap doesn't it, though it's meant to be about accepting difficulty and pain and doing what one needs to do anyway. My hope is that this will break the impasse that I have come to.

The last six months I've been feeling mostly drained and sick. I don't really want to be this way. The ACT is one way  I'm trying to turn this around. Are there other ways? I draw strength from inner beliefs, but even that wanes without hints of hope. I went no-mail on my mailing lists after an accident on my bike. As much as they are supporting in some ways, in others they were distractions, diluting my focus even further. So far I haven't returned to any of them.

Not cheerful this time around, but perhaps I need to sit with these feelings, rather than push them out of sight. So where's the Goddess in all this? I don't really know. I'm not losing faith, I just feel very very week right now. I know She'll help me in this, just not sure how.

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