Thursday, 18 December 2014

You Think It's New Then?

I have a friend who thought last year that my trans thing had come totally out of the blue and that I was convincing myself that it was something which I'd always had when in fact it was just my latest fad.  I think this is because I hid it quite well for a long time, then rather less well for a longer time - in fact I stopped bothering to hide it altogether but I wasn't quite as open about it as I am now.  He still knew me over that second period, so it's a bit odd that he didn't notice or make a connection.  There may have been quite a lot of people in that position.

Simply because you have a secret which you expect people to kick the living daylights out of you if you tell, and you therefore don't tell anyone, doesn't mean you haven't always had that secret.  It just means you had a lot of practice at hiding it.  I can remember, for instance, waiting for everyone to be out, opening the wardrobe, taking extremely careful note of where the contents were, memorising that, removing the contents, putting them on, eventually taking them off again and putting them back in exactly the same place and position as they were in the first place.  I can remember doing that in dead of night, very, very quietly.  I can remember hiding things in drawers, under mattresses and so on.  I got really, really good at it, and people didn't notice, because it was more than my life was worth.  I got very good at looking blank in certain situations.  Basically, I got really good at hiding things.

The rest of this blog is only going to make sense to a couple of people at most and they probably won't read it, but I might direct them this way if they persist in thinking this hasn't always been here.  I'm sorry about this game playing but it's more a record of a game posted somewhere public than a game in itself.  It was the one I used to play back in the day.

I am going to mention a few things now because the game's up and I'm not even bothering to hide them any more, and I doubt whether anyone from that time will be reading this, but just in case you are...

Do you remember that the lock was missing on the door to my bedroom the last time I lived in this area?  Did you notice that there was a train ticket taped over it?  Going further back, you wouldn't have noticed this because it was before you knew me:  I always kept the key on the inside of my bedroom door in my Hall of Residence.  That was my response to the event which led to it, when two people looked through my keyhole and saw what I was doing, and I acquired a certain nickname.  Do you remember that nickname?  Did you ever wonder how on Earth I had come about such an unexpected nickname?  I know you overheard certain people talking to me about it and taking the mickey, and you heard what they said. They were only hints of course, but it's a pretty good piece of evidence dating back to 1985.

Another thing.  I was known for a lot of things as a student, such as being "from the planet Zanussi" and having long hair, which was of course the one obvious thing I permitted myself to feel more comfortable with my gender.  There were some other public things but you didn't seem to notice those.  There was something else I was known for, wasn't there?  Something quite unpleasant - not morally wrong of course, but quite distasteful.  Did you ever wonder why that was a problem?  Think about it.  Why might that happen? Put two and two together there too and you have another piece of evidence dating back, again, to the mid-'eighties, and you were only too well aware of it at the time.

This next thing came up a couple of times and you were curious about it.  The man who stopped me outside my place of work in summer 1992 knew something about me he "couldn't" have done.  He delayed me a long time and I met you and Steve in town a lot later than expected.  What do you think that piece of knowledge was?  It came up in the men's group as well, didn't it?  What do you think that was about?  Why do you think I chickened (get it?) out of mentioning it?  No, you don't get it.

Going back a bit further, I used to keep a diary.  I was sufficiently paranoid not to write down exactly what was going on, but if you looked at it carefully, you might have noticed certain sentences were oddly phrased, and that those odd phrasings occurred at regular intervals.  There were also certain symbols in it at less regular intervals.  I also used them in letters and lecture notes:
If I ever lent you lecture notes, and for some of you who received letters from me, you will have seen these symbols here and there.  Is this giving you a clue yet?  It's not, is it?

Other people:  do you remember knocking on my door that summer after the Greenpeace Festival and how it took me a long time to answer?  Did you wonder why I came to the window in my pants.  I hadn't just been doing what you probably thought I was doing.  To be honest, on that occasion I don't really know why I didn't just go to Machynlleth as I had been about thirty seconds previously, but I didn't.

Do you remember coming round to the house I shared with David just before I got kidnapped?  Do you recall the discussion about menstruation?  Did you wonder why I had to keep going to the toilet?

Now I'm going to go further back, to my school days.  Not many people I'm still in touch with will remember this, but anyone who is will definitely remember me doing this.  They'll remember I kept referring to my "Problem" (capital P).  I was doing this by the time I was thirteen, I know.  One of my friends said I'd feel a lot better if I just told him, and he was genuinely sympathetic.  However, he had already said he found homosexuality completely disgusting, so I wasn't about to do that and I never told him.  Someone else got me to admit it was sexual, which was pretty obvious, but I doubt he really understood how it was sexual.  People will remember this if they're still in touch with me who knew me then.

Well there you go.  Now you basically know what the Problem was and you who have known me since we were at secondary school together will definitely remember me mentioning it quite a lot.  Later on, I shut up - when I left home I kept very quiet about the whole thing because you know that supposedly radical, left-wing compassionate environment at university?  It wasn't really that way at all, was it?

Nick will remember a lot of this.  Gerard will also remember a bit.  Jon, Andy and Vicky will remember some of the other incidents.  The school stuff - well, you only have to ask.  I'm still in touch with the relevant people.

But it's not new, it's not a fad, I just didn't trust anyone and I'm good at hiding stuff for my own safety, and that's why you didn't know.  OK?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bothered About Angels Instead

As you've seen, I've been looking at a few paintings of angels recently and I'm not keen because they seem really stuffed with symbolism in a way which seems inappropriate.  However, I did find one I really liked, again on the subject of the Annunciation:

This is Henry Ossawa Tanner's version of the Annunciation.  Incidentally, this artist is a nineteenth century African American, and I don't know how many of those would have painted in this style, or at all, so I personally found that quite surprising.

This painting, though, I found the most convincing of the lot.  It has a realism to it which the others lack.  I can imagine Mary waking up in the middle of the night startled and overawed by this column of golden light in her room, and the bareness of her room, the utter non-humanity but also love of the warm but also terrible, almost uncreated light of the angel in front of her, which tells her the terrible but astonishing message, and - well, I talked about that last time.

I feel the allure of angels but at the same time I feel bothered by them because to me the idea of angels brings temptation with it.  To me there is at most one God and in that sense I agree with atheists except they believe there's one fewer God than I do.  The idea, incidentally, that I'm atheist about the likes of Zeus, Thoth and Odin is incorrect - those are names of the one God and are not separate deities, so in a sense I do in fact believe in all of them too, as faces of that single God, just as I believe in the morning and evening star as the single planet Venus.  This is partly what bothers me about angels.

You see, the thing is I am quite happy to focus on the idea of one God, and as I say that only places me one step away from being atheist as I believe in almost exactly the same number of supernatural beings as I used to when I was one of those that way, but as soon as I start to believe in angels I've started to believe in a lot of extra supernatural beings which are separate from God.

I also think the word translated as "angel" in the Bible, which also means "messenger", sometimes probably just refers to plain, ordinary human messengers and not supernatural beings.  Sometimes I think God might use people to send messages, and in that situation those people are of course in a sense angels, but that might happen to anyone.  I wouldn't be surprised if God's used this guy:

"Richard Dawkins Cooper Union Shankbone" by David Shankbone - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

 as an angel in that sense from time to time.  He'd certainly be in the right position to be used in that way since so many people hear him and he has so much exposure.   Nice tie by the way.

My problem is that when I start to think about the idea of all these little details about the non-physical Universe, it all starts to seem a bit like a flight of fancy, and that really makes me doubt everything.  Having said that, and this may not win me many friends because it's all going to sound a bit fire and brimstony, I do actually believe in the Devil, and here's why.

Lots of people believe in conspiracy theories, and I'm not going to say what I think about that.  One thing which definitely seems to happen is that events seem to conspire to bring about the worst possible outcome.  For instance, back in the early 1990s, John Major became Prime Minister and that meant the Tories stayed in power for a lot longer than they otherwise would, because he was too bland to be defeated.  In the meantime, a potentially very successful and quite charismatic Labour leader suddenly died.  I'm not claiming he was assassinated, unlike some people, but I do think this is the kind of thing which seems arranged.  As I don't want to think badly of people, I choose to assume that instead of the conspiracy occurring organised by human beings, it's organised by a supernatural being, namely the Devil.  This stops me from thinking badly of people and helps me to see everyone as a victim rather than a deliberate perpetrator of evil, so it serves a function.  To me, there seems to be a plan to make things turn out for the worst.

Of course, according to standard Christian theology, the Devil is an angel, so I suppose I do believe in at least one angel in the sense of a supernatural being.

The trouble with believing in the Devil is that the temptation is then there not to take responsibility for one's own wrongdoing because one can just blame it on him.

One of the distinctive things about Christianity is that it's very stark and austere, particularly Protestantism.  It doesn't have the elaborate cosmologies and cosmogonies of other faith traditions such as Hinduism or Jainism, or the pantheon of deities and so on.  Christianity is oddly grounded in the boring.  I don't know what to make of that.  However, it does mean that the idea of angels seems incongruous in it, and clearly some have succumbed to the temptation to elaborate it and ask how many of them can dance on the head of a pin or arrange them conceptually into choirs with strange names such as Thrones and Dominions.  Incidentally, that lot does work quite well as a subject of meditation, but otherwise it's a bit, well, disturbing.

In other words, I just don't know what I think.  Sorry.  Oh, I do like the idea that every angel is a separate species though, so they can't be saved because whereas all human beings are the same species, so they can have a representative as Christ, the Devil can't be because Christ would have to be the Devil to save him.

There you go, it just peters out as usual doesn't it?  Sigh.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


It's hard to bring this subject up without sounding preachy or peeing people off bigtime, or just meeting with scepticism, and I will probably be a bit rambly anyway, but someone said something to me on Sunday which was really helpful and I can't think of how to share this without coming over as all religious.  Also, just as I shouldn't skulk around being ashamed of being trans, nor should I skulk around being ashamed to profess the faith of Christ crucified, so that's what I'm gonna do now I'm afraid.

If you have an issue with it, and as someone who believed for a long time that Christianity was the worst thing to happen to this planet since the extinction of the dinosaurs I would've agreed with you wholeheartedly for many years, I suppose you could see the stories as myth or a form of literature.  Also, it is nearly Xmas, so pull up a chair and have a vegan version of a dead dinosaur to celebrate the start of the lengthening of days while I whitter on about this lass:

Right, so you're a young woman in zeroth century Judaea minding your own business and all of a sudden the Archangel Gabriel appears to you and tells you you're going to have God's baby.  The only trouble is, you're not married and if people think you've committed adultery, they will stone you to death.  On the other hand, having a baby is a good thing and having God's baby is even better.  In the meantime, along with all the other stuff you have to carry on doing, you're going to be tired all the time, have heartburn, haemorrhoids maybe, all that stuff, then eventually you're going to start showing and everyone will know when you go shopping or, I don't know - not particularly au fait with the life of Judaean women - fetching well water, pounding clothes against rocks or whatever, and they're going to make certain assumptions about you, but you know, deep down, that this is God's doing no matter what everyone else does or says.  Confident enough, in fact, in that that you actually  sing about it at length!

I realise that people are very sceptical about the idea of the virgin birth and often even about the idea that Jesus even ever existed, but can we just leave that aside for a second and accept it on whatever level you feel comfortable with it.  Just think of it as a story in a book if you like.  I don't believe Harry Potter or Dumbledore existed either, but that doesn't stop me getting emotionally involved in the story.  So, get involved emotionally in the story, OK?

Also, look at the other things in that book which God gets people to do:

Not a cloud in the sky probably, then God tells you that the whole world's about to drown in a massive deluge and you have to build an enormous boat and collect seven or two of every animal.  People will of course think you're deluded, right up to the point when their sandals get a bit soggy.


You're this really old guy married to a postmenopausal woman, and God comes along and tells you that not only are you going to have a child but that that child will have more descendants than there are stars in the sky, which actually is not that many but it's a metaphor. oh and you both have to put a letter H in your names by the way,  Not sure it happened in that order.

And so on.  However, Mary's situation is particularly difficult.  People would just doubt Noah's connection to the real world, and Abram's and Sarai's situation is quite private.  Mary, on the other hand, is going to have to walk around very obviously pregnant and very obviously unmarried and that state seems to invite the death penalty in her situation, or at the very least enormous disapproval and shunning.  Even in mid-twentieth century Kent it did, to my recollection, so nineteen hundred and something years earlier, although things are not just linear, it would surely have been a whole lot worse.

Or maybe it wasn't that bad.  Inside, she knew what she was doing was blessed by God and that nothing could stand against her for that reason, although I would certainly expect her to have her doubts myself.  In that situation, I think I would probably also think she had a phantom pregnancy.  In fact, if I were her I would probably think I had one, and of course I have myself sort of had one and oh, the wishful thinking involved, the yearning, I can't begin to describe it.  Yet she was somehow able to be clear in her mind that she really was pregnant (and I know the thing about it might have been a cover-up story for a one-night stand with a Roman soldier but we're talking about the actual story here - suspend your disbelief please), she really hadn't slept with anyone, and it was God's child, and all this in front of massive social disapproval.  Whatever else is true, that is one huge amount of faith.  So maybe that faith carried her through.  Not only was she perhaps angelically protected or something, but her very assurance and faith might have woven its own psychological spell on those around her which led to nobody daring to mess with the woman.

OK, you will gather that I have a lot of emotional investment in this, and this is where you can glean another piece of evidence that I have in fact become delusional.  I spent years and years praying for God to make me happy with being male, I mean decades, every night, I prayed for it, way back into before I was even Christian, and it never happened.  Then there was an Act Of God, as they say, because as you probably know, this really did sort of happen by accident.  My interpretation of that is that God said no.  In more detail, God said something like "OK Esther, I know you're praying for that but I also know what you really want, who you are and what you need me to do, so I'm going to say 'no' to your incessant and ridiculously repetitive prayer to make you happy with something that you just aren't, and instead of that I'm going to give you your heart's desire".  Nowadays therefore I look down and generally see something like this:

...and of course everyone who knows me sees the same scene from a different angle, and since a lot of my friends and acquaintances are Christians it would make perfect sense if they saw it as completely against God's will, and let's face it probably sexually motivated, particularly given the rather prominent mound in the foreground of that picture.  A lot of people probably thought the same thing about Mary when she was carrying the Son of God, in view of her point of view and the larger mound in the background of her field of view from the same angle.

Obviously I'm not pregnant with Jesus and I presumably never will be but this is two things.  Firstly, I'm pretty sure this is the will of God, and I'm aware that many devout and diligent prayerful regular readers of Scripture will say, completely understandably, that I must surely be wrong.  Secondly, this is honesty.  You think you see a bloke in a skirt and you only have my word that that's not what you're seeing, at which point you probably conclude that you're also seeing a very confused and delusional bloke in a skirt, which is incorrect, but even if it is, you have to recognise that I honestly believe I'm a woman and therefore recognise the dishonesty of presenting myself as a man.  It actually would be, and always was, dishonest to do that.

Those of you on the other side, the non-religious:  you may now think I'm delusional for entirely different reasons, and at this point I'm going to pull the carpet out from this account.  Note that many Christians I know would agree with you - they would see me as mentally ill.  Compare and contrast that with allegedly false religious belief, which you might also see as delusional but they don't.  I happen to believe Jesus was born of a virgin and that I'm female.  Many Christians happen to believe Jesus was born of a virgin and that I'm male.  Non-Christians probably either believe that Jesus was not born of a virgin and that I'm female or that Jesus was not born of a virgin and that I'm male.  At least two of those beliefs are false, but not all of them are delusional, and in particular the belief that I'm male is shared by Christians and non-Christians alike.

So to be blunt and ableist, am I mad or not?

In the meantime, I feel very safe but am aware of what people might be thinking, but it's just one of those things and it's not that hard really, partly because I believe it to be God's doing.  I wonder if Mary felt the same.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Home Ed Of All Things

Very occasionally I remember what this blog is supposed to be about, or more often coincidentally happen to write something on-topic.  I must apologise for this.
So today I was listening to the very annoying 'Woman's Hour'.  It irritates me mainly because it seems to be about "women in the workplace" so much, which means work for an employer most of the time, and it doesn't seem very liberating to me for someone to become a wage slave instead of a slave to housework, and whereas it's good to have an income and do something socially useful, it just seems to me that society needs to be completely differently structured and this is just window dressing.  It's not always like that but it often is.  I don't know why.

Anyway, 'Woman's Hour' has just started a serial on a transgirl which I haven't listened to, but I did listen to the interview with a mother at the start of the programme whose daughter was trans and went full time at the age of nine.  She told her mother at the age of four, and her mother describes the primary school she went to as "very understanding", although she still pretended to be a boy at school.  At the age of nine, she found the prospect of puberty so daunting that her mother decided something pharmaceutical had to be done or she wouldn't survive the next seven years.  My heart goes out to the girl but of course there's also a little voice in my head screaming "why her and not me?", to which the answer is that I didn't tell anyone and it was the '70s at the time anyway, so it wasn't really anyone's fault but mine.  I do occasionally daydream about it, but then I remind myself I HAVE CHILDREN!!

That all sounded quite good until her mother said that her daughter had started to grow her hair out at the age of nine and transitioned between primary and secondary school.  That made me wonder.  I suppose there might have been a few children who would've bullied her at that school for having long hair although younger children are often very accepting and just take things as they come, so it sounds more like a school rule to me or an expectation of the school.  I mean, this poor child was already being forced to wear the wrong clothes all day and I think I'd just assumed that she was also wearing her hair the way she wanted it, which doesn't necessarily mean long but in this case did.

This is where it becomes relevant to home ed of course.  Isn't the obvious thing to do in that situation to remove the school aspect of education from the child's life?  Why would it have to conform in that way just because of a school?  I always find it really weird how that doesn't occur to people to try home ed of all things, but often it doesn't happen.  Another example is of children with nut allergies whose schools refuse to use or let them use epipens and children with Type I diabetes in a similar situation.  I'm aware of a parent who used to sit around at school all day guarding the epipen just in case, and if she's going to do that, why not just home educate?  What is going on here?  Is it lack of confidence?  Is it not believing children would get the opportunity to socialise?  Or what?  What is it?

Of course there are plenty of children who don't go to school or conform to their perceived gender, probably for two reasons.  One is of course that some parents withdraw such children from school, which in a way is a pretty major indictment of the school system.  The other is that the pressure to conform is less powerful for those children.

Anyway, this is a headscratcher for me.  Why is it that this happens?  It just seems the obvious response to me but it happens so seldom.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Nostalgic Legwear and Depression

OK, look people, I do try not to go on about this but I also think I should just go with the flow and write what's on my mind, and you might even find it interesting.  Also, last week's thing made me think I shouldn't overthink, so I'm not, so you get this instead of analysis paralysis.

Back in about 1992, had you looked at my legs you would probably have seen something like this:

Before you say anything, just a quick comment on the one on the right:  I don't like it any more than you do, but since at the time I was in denial about having that but wasn't planning to do anything about it, yes, I'm afraid that is there.  The one on the left is of course a different matter.

It was because of this disconcerting appearance that in spite of possessing these:

or rather very similar predecessors in blue and purple (I've only just taken this photo), I rarely wore them, and when I did wear them they'd be under a pair of trousers, or, very rarely, maybe twice, with a pair of shorts.  Consequently, I didn't explore this and just gave up after a bit.

The odd thing about that is that I could very easily have done this instead:

which would've covered up the offending area, although nowadays it's no longer necessary, but for some reason I only did that on one single occasion in April 1991 and then just stopped.

Why did I just stop?  People, even Vicky, approved, of my image change, but I lost my nerve and resorted to just wearing leggings and crop tops, and a few floral things, op art things and slightly long things, for the next eight years, and of course went back to the usual boring stuff quite a lot.  It is in fact really obvious that if you're wearing leggings and you're of that section of the population which will have a possibly unsightly bulge as a result, it makes sense to wear either shorts or a skirt on top.  Yet I did neither, over that whole time.  Why?

The answer is a bit sad really.  On that legendary occasion when I wore a dress to a wedding reception, most people were fine, and some people were in fact very encouraging, but a couple weren't.  One of them was a woman who said, not to me personally but to someone else, that she thought I would've known better than to do that and that she was disappointed that I "of all people" would have done that.  She also asked if I was "coming out" as gay.  This is the kind of reaction I had expected all along.  The other person was my late lamented friend David, and just as an aside, I can't just let that pass - I still miss him, I still think about him and how much he has missed, and I wonder what would have become of him had that bastard of a virus not carried him off along with God knows how many millions of other people in the meantime, but it did, and here I am in a world without him.


David said, in his inimitable style, "...and it wasn't even a very nice dress!"  He was right, it wasn't.  I was struggling to find something which covered most of my body and I was freaked out by the buttons, because back then the button phobia was still in full swing and in fact I hadn't worn anything with them for many years at that time.

Therefore, those two people with their disapproving comments were enough to stop me from even thinking about doing that again for a couple of decades, whereas all the other positive comments, one of which was from Vicky herself for God's sake, weren't enough to persuade me that it was a good idea, that I should follow that intuition that it just felt normal and perhaps pursue that feeling of normality further and ask myself why that was.  Instead, I changed my mind about what I was doing and just sort of skulked in a gully of the uncanny gender valley for twenty years, in the meantime enduring the taunts of bigoted and damaged people in the street for no good reason.  In my early twenties.  Getting on for three decades of not being who I was because of that.

But you see, this is the thing.  Underneath it all, although I may not have been actively depressed in mood for all of that time, I still thought depressively.  Even an approving comment handed down from the pedestal of the great Vicky herself was not enough to get me to see the light.  Instead, I only noticed the disapproval, because that's what depression is like, and even if you are not down emotionally at a particular moment, you still have the habits of thought which are liable to pull you back into it if other things go wrong.  Moreover, another factor was probably negative expectations.  If I wore plain black leggings back then, on the whole I would be laughed at by the general populace.  If, however, I wore the psychedelic style as depicted above, people would kind of laugh with me, and that's the key.  Whereas ridiculing oneself is not necessarily a good way to go, although I still think it's important not to take oneself too seriously and have a sense of humour about these things - after all, given my turn ons I would've thrown myself off a bridge by now if I hadn't had a sense of humour about them - the fact that pushing it just a little further and getting a more positive result wasn't enough to encourage me to go all the way, so I just didn't.  In fact, a lot of the time I just stuck to the boring leggings, which is weird because I got more stick for that than when I wore the more interesting ones.  This is because, in the face of the evidence, I expected the flack I got when I dressed androgynously to get worse if I went the whole way into feminine territory, as I would've seen it in those days, and in fact to get my head kicked in on a regular basis.  In fact I thought this right up until last year when I actually finally did it.  Counter-intuitive though it was, it was also a rational conclusion given the experience of getting harassed less when I pushed it further, yet I never did it.

Really, this post is not about what some people might refer to as cross-dressing.  It's really about depression, and how that traps you in patterns which keep you down and in a well of misery even though the key out of them is right in front of you.  I paid no attention to what Vicky and her friend Tonia said but listened avidly to Sharon and David.  I didn't even pay attention to my own experience of getting kicked and spat and sworn at when I wore the black leggings but smiled engagingly at by all and sundry when I wore the multicoloured or op art ones.  And the basis, in my conscious mind, for those decisions which were a kind of psychological trap, was that I shouldn't do these things because I had to take it on faith that a small minority of women who disapproved spoke for the majority because I had no access to their experience.  This thought was being had by a mind generated by a brain which I now realise is clearly female, in spite of not necessarily being socialised in this way.  A woman's eyes were looking out at a world where she was being picked on and bullied not only by men, but also by her own gender under the guise of pretending to speak for all women, all because of her depression, caused largely by the very fact that her brain was in fact female and wasn't getting the right chemicals because she lacked the organs in her body which were supposed to provide them and therefore make her mentally healthy.

Now I'm not just going to swing back against that because I recognise that that victimisation was something which I did to myself.  I had the choice not to allow that to happen, and the restriction of this discussion to the area of gender politics shouldn't be permitted to cloud that issue either.  The trap was of my own making, and although it can be impossible for some people to get out of it without at least a helping hand, some of us are lucky enough to be able to see this for what it is and find our own way out.  Once we've done that though, we cannot justify picking on the people who are still in the trap and saying it's their fault.  I am lucky enough to have escaped, and I just want to point out how, and why I stayed there for so long.  I look back at that now and I want to kick myself, and I've wanted to do that ever since the day last year when I looked at myself in the mirror, saw that to myself, the person who counts here, the one who can lever herself out of her slough of despond, the hormones and the rest had just made her look normal, the way she should've looked all along, and thought about all the wasted years of unhappiness and guilt that had preceded that moment.  And then moved on and looked at the brighter future.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Probably everyone who reads this blog also knows about my struggles with my earlobes even off this blog.  I am about to take a couple of photos of the organs concerned.  They will be blurry and speckly and not very good.
 Well, maybe just one:

This picture has made me happy, incidentally, bearing in mind that it was taken at 9:27 pm and I got up at 7 am.  However, I want to focus on the earlobe for now, or rather, what's been done to it.

This has four aspects for me.  Actually it has a lot more, but never mind.

Firstly, it's a piercing, something I declared repeatedly that I would never, ever do.  Not ever, never in a million years, never ever.  It was in fact one of those things which I was blocked from doing by that massive tangle of neuroses I used to use to structure my life and cope with stuff.  I once made an observation to my time twin Kate that I couldn't stand the idea of having a piece of metal sticking through a body part and she said that was precisely the appeal.

Secondly, it's an easy way of feminising one's appearance - thank you Organisedpauper for the suggestion. Of course, the precise nature of the thing sticking through it is a factor here.

Thirdly, it's a dummy run.  The prospect of maintaining a rather larger and more intimate body modification is surely contingent on my ability to maintain this much minor and more public one.  If I can't even do this, there's probably no point in bothering with the other.

Fourthly, it's a dummy run.  The response of my skin to this minuscule insult might give some indication to what would happen with the rather major procedure alluded to above.  For instance, if there's any skin shrinkage with this, there will be with the other.  Another clue to this could be found here:

For some reason, these have only healed with scarring - I suspect lack of vascularisation.  There's also shrinkage.

Going back to the piercing=penetration equation, I should insert a trigger warning here for my erstwhile phobia.
OK with that?  Ready?

Right then.
Right, buttons!  A button is a small(ish) solid object penetrating a - well, I hesitate to say "hole" here, but penetrating material through an orifice whose function includes that.  There is of course something else which works that way, and that is possibly why I couldn't "go there".  In a way, and this would have made me climb the walls back in 2012, an earring is like having an earlobe button, and an earstud even more so.  I find it vertiginously weird that I can hold that thought in my mind without wanting to cut my earlobes off because of what Chloe did to them, but I don't.

A whole load of thoughts are swimming to the surface now which I really want to share.  I shared them elsewhere on Monday, but I can't do that here.  I just can't, sorry.  This thing is no respecter of what's considered taboo or totemic in any society, and it will plonk its monuments and clues where it will.  It doesn't care about embarrassment or inconvenience.  It just plonks its claims down arbitrarily and leaves the poor blighter to cope with them as she best sees possible.  In fact, not even that.  It makes its mysterious symbolic circumlocutions and leaves her to it to work out what the hell has happened.

You may think I play games, and I do of course, although I try not to, but believe me, the games my subconscious plays with me makes those games trivial by comparison, or some such cliche.

It's "out there" now, written in my NHS records, that thing I used to do, the Problem, and with luck it will be seen for what it is, a huge great pink flashing neon arrow pointing at my brain saying "THIS IS A WOMAN" to whom it may concern.  And I have to go back in March and talk about that, that deeply intimate, innermost circle thing about me, that cringe-making ultimate embarrassment which has made my life seem like a cruel divine joke sometimes, which meant I ended up learning about myself by reading something on a toilet wall in 1996 rather than in any kind of appropriate, caring or tender context, because guess what?  I am this person and this person is female, and one of the best ways of providing the evidence for that is to tell them about it, because the subconscious does not lie, not in that way.

But it doesn't suck to be me.  I have a sense of humour about it, the alternative being to jump off Beachy Head, and although it seems like a divine joke, it is actually quite a funny one when it comes down to it.

Sometimes a piercing is just a piercing.  Not on this occasion though.

Let me see if I can remember.  OK:  Debbie, Susie, Bettina, Mike, Rachel, Liz, Lou, Jonathan, David, Wayne, Rebecca, Katharine - thanks for understanding and accepting me.  It's a bigger thing for me than it is for you I expect - no pun intended.  I have to live with it, so I just hope it serves a purpose now.  I think I've mentioned you all.

Emigrating To Fairyland

In yesterday's post I compared and contrasted Neverland and Fairyland.  Neverland is, as J M Barrie says,  "second to the right, and straight on till morning", and it exists in the minds of children.  I always think of it as a fairly dodgy place.  When I was a child myself, the expectation that I would just get to adulthood and have a perfect quickie sex change was what was in my mind, among other things like how wheels were evil and hovercraft good, and a vague desire to be a flatworm, because that's what I'm like.  So in Neverland, I'm obviously female.

Fairyland is different.  Fairyland is not somewhere you can get directions to from here.  "You can't get there from here".  Nonetheless, many small children do adopt the costumery of the Queendom in question.  Some of these children are later discouraged from continuing in this wise at an earlier stage than others.  Were it not for my extreme caution, I would in all likelihood have been such a child.

Fairyland and Albion, along with the appendix to Albion referred to as "the Universe" are not commensurable places.  I live in Albion, a place once described by a Greek traveller as a place where the elements of earth, air, fire and water are not separate, so in other words it's quite muddy and drizzly here, and the sun is watery.  It's quite easy to get muddy here and muddy and pink don't go well together.  Nor do mud and glitter.  But where there's muck there's brass, so there are a lot of rich people here, many of whom are at relative peace with the contents of their trousers, a fact which, unlike Fairyland and Albion, are quite closely connected.

I of course was not at peace with the contents of my trousers.  This can no longer be said to be so for several reasons.  In fact, the contents of my trousers made it hard to acquire much of that glittery shiny blinging stuff often found in the pockets of the aforementioned garments, and whereas it is filthy as well as shiny, it probably is an accurate measure of how much society values me, in other words not at all.  However, that's OK because how much society values people correlates rather poorly to how much they're worth, which considering that we're all of infinite value, is hardly surprising.

In any case, I can't use filthy lucre to buy a ticket to Fairyland because there are no scheduled flights there, so why would I want any in the first place?  I can't buy my way out of Albion with it.  So instead, I went to Cloud Cuckoo Land, which to me is more local than it is to many other people anyway, so it was quite convenient.  Unfortunately, while I was away in Cloud Cuckoo Land, things did not go well in Albion and my estates fell into disarray.

Nobody can really know what it's like to be someone else, not really.  I couldn't know what it was like to be a subject of the Fairy Queen, for example, not unless I actually was one.

However, it so happened that as time went by, I became a mage, and as that mage, Lady Luck slipped me a magic potion which awoke me from the spell which had been cast upon me by Albion, and I slowly began to realise I didn't live in Albion at all, but Fairyland.  Therefore, the mere fact that there were no bridges, roads, railways, flights or boats, or even hovercraft, to Fairyland and there never could be didn't matter at all, because in fact I'd always lived in Fairyland anyway, I just didn't realise it.  I went from Snow Queen to Fairy Queen.

Welcome to Fairyland.