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Transitioning into liminal space

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Classical Electric [Mar. 28th, 2017|07:22 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |impressedimpressed]

A 17 year old woman shredding through the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata like a complete badass.

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Sexism in the Media (of Course) [Mar. 27th, 2017|10:06 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |annoyedannoyed]

It's so frustrating when a TV show that I otherwise like reasonably well implies that ignoring a woman's stated rejection of your touch is romantic. Come on people. We should all know better than that by now.
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Religion and it's Context [Mar. 27th, 2017|04:55 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

A discussion elsewhere on Facebook reminded me of this great series from the CBC show "Ideas" about the relationship between the secular and the sacred. It's not something that I have as much interest in as other cultural issues, but it did make me think differently about religion in the context of state, society, and other things.

The Myth of the Secular.
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Email to the Genderqueer Group [Mar. 27th, 2017|04:12 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |anxiousanxious]

I emailed Genderqueer Chicago today.




Greetings!

I'd like to come to the upcoming Genderqueer Chicago meeting this Wedesday. It would be my first time there, and I always have some anxiety about trying to meet a group of people for the first time due to my difficulties in remember faces. I am a person with prosopagnosia, a condition that makes it very difficult for me to remember who people are by sight. Sometimes it's difficult for me to remember details I learn about people as well because without remembering a face to attach them to, those details can get lost in the brain-shuffle. In turn, that can lead to me appearing to be aloof or uncaring, when in reality it's just hard to know consistently who I'm talking to.

I guess I just wanted to get in touch ahead of time. Even if the entire group doesn't know about my difficulties in advance, I feel some level of reassurance that I won't seem unintentionally rude or something if I know that at least one person (is it the moderator or similar who gets these emails?) knows about my face-blindness.

Thank you!

Chris




For a number of reasons, I'm nervous about going; perhaps in equal parts with hopefulness.
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Bicycling! [Mar. 26th, 2017|05:55 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |contentcontent]

Thirty miles today, down to Navy Pier and back. There's a new pedestrian overpass going in around Ohio Street; it should make it a lot easier to navigate the maze around the north end of the Lake Shore Drive drawbridge.

I brought my jacket out of concern for wind off the lake on this 60 degree day, but it stayed in my panniers. I was producing enough heat to find a good equilibrium. It's so good to have this warm weather again! And I stopped at Aldi on the way back for some yogurt.

Piper is more and more eager to start walking places when I put her down on the ground. She gets to have her sling off on Thursday. Until then, she still gets carried around from spot to spot until she finds one she likes, then she goes right back in to be in her crate or (more frequently) sit next to one of us on the couch. I'm sure I'd be bored of so much sitting too!
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Identity Introspection [Mar. 25th, 2017|05:13 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

A friend shared a link to an article about how to maintain a queer identity while in a relationship that most people read as straight. (Link to the article) It's certainly something I've thought a lot about, so I was curious about what are, I assume, some widely-shared thoughts on the issue. A few pieces of it left me feeling disempowered (though no intent or fault of the writer, I want to add). The writer's feelings of disconnection from her non-straight identity were assuaged by having dating partners of a variety of genders. Though it can feel like her identity is partially erased by being with her male partner, it was much harder for her when she was monogamous. I could, in theory, find validation of my own identity in a similar way; by actively seeking the kind of non cisfemale dating partners I'm interested in.

A significant problem with that is that I lack any dating experience or confidence. But more relevant to the feelings the article brings up is that I don't have a solid idea of my own identity. "Being mislabeled as straight can bring back all our baby-queer insecurities that we thought we were past: being “queer enough,” worrying about taking up space that isn’t “ours” to take up," writes the author. I have those fears myself, and I've never been past them to start with. Am I queer enough to call myself queer? Am I non-binary enough to call myself non-binary?

Taking up space that isn't mine to take up is a really good description of the feelings I have when I think about my relationship to gender in general. I don't identify as male, but I'm basically ok looking masculine. I'd like to do things with my appearance that are more feminine. About doing so, I have an externally-focused fear of not being taken seriously as an individual in most circumstances if I present myself in a way that people perceive as incoherent. (I use the term incoherent because there is a real language of visual self-expression that deeply affects other's perceptions, and people don't react well to incoherent language.) But I also have an internally focused fear of taking up that space that isn't mine. Of presenting myself in a way I am not entitled to. That my adoption of feminine expression comes from a place of great privilege compared to trans people, and that it will therefore be seen as shallow.

That's enough semi-coherent navel-gazing for the moment. I don't have a solid idea of my identity in so many respects. I never really have. I need to figure that out. The first person who ever expressed sexual interest in me was male. I'd never even considered that I might not be straight, but I simply decided that I wasn't. I've put myself in real danger because I'm unable to say no to people who are interested in me. I've been in two relationships that started when I was successfully propositioned by someone I'd just met, somewhat to my own surprise since I'd always thought I'd want to know someone better. I don't really know how much of those things, and many other things, are attributable to me wanting to be what other people want. I don't know for sure that I've ever made well-considered, self-aware decisions about these things.

So next week I'm going to this. Genderqueer Chicago, "a grassroots, peer-led group that works to create safe spaces for all of us to talk about, think about, explore, and express gender." I think that might be a start to puzzling through some of these things.
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Bicycling [Mar. 24th, 2017|08:09 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |contentcontent]

While taking my first bike ride of the year in shorts, I also got my first bug in the nose of the year. I take the good with the bad. I couldn't let the first really warm day of the year go by without taking advantage of it.

It was a seventeen mile ride down to Lawrence and the Lakefront Path in Chicago. I would have gone farther, but the water fountains aren't on yet and I ran out of water. I got some Gatorade on my shopping trip today though, so I'll have more liquid with me on the next trip. I need more Clif bars too. The one I ate today was leftover from last Fall and it tasted kind of unpleasant. Haven't gotten sick yet though!

There was a little Pitty-dog tied to the bench in front of the grocery store I went to this evening. I sat down by him and traded some snuggles and pets for face licks. I love seeing the dogs out in the warm weather.
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Shelter Day [Mar. 23rd, 2017|10:47 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |contentcontent]

Working at the shelter was a good way to counteract the depression I was feeling earlier today. There was a dog named Kylie who seems to be part Golden Retriever and part Airedale Terrier. She looks like a wooly, curly-coated Golden, with a slightly terrier-shaped head. So cute! The grooming must be a terror though. There was a brief squall tonight: she ended hup wet, and I can just imagine trying to brush all the fur out.. I texted a picture of her to Lisa, 'cause I thought she needed to see.

Another dog thoroughly befouled his kennel not once but twice. I was grudgingly impressed.

I went for a long walk with Q, a big German Shepherd Dog-esque boy who's info sheet says that he loves to explore and take long walks. I knew we'd get along! Actually, as I told Danae, it was more like we took each other for a jog. Rain had just started coming down as I got back, so I took Winston (who I kept calling Mr. Churchill) out for a shorter walk in the rain. He's another big boy, but more of a Staffordshire Terrier type of dog. Solid body, big head, and so affectionate.
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General Update [Mar. 20th, 2017|05:22 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |okayokay]

A week ago, I set up my bicycle trainer in the condo as an attempt to get more regular exercise. Sub-freezing weather and low motivation was keeping me from doing much outdoor riding. During that week, Danae was understandably a bit put out by my stuff having taken over a lot of the living room (I had a big [musical] keyboard on the dining table as well). I feel a little silly taking the bike back outside after only a week, but it was in the low 40s here today; warm enough to not have to put on gloves and thermal underwear. I didn't ride nearly as far as I thought I might; I am sadly out of shape compared to last year. But it was so satisfying to be out riding fast on smooth tires and clear roads. I'll make that as close to a daily thing as I can.

Piper is recovering well from her hip dislocation. She doesn't seem to be in much pain, and this morning she pooped for the first time since the emergency vet visit on Thursday. I was starting to be concerned about that. We carry her everywhere: at outside time, I carry her from spot to spot and set her down until she finds somewhere she deems appropriate for her needs, then we go back in. When I'm alone with her, she has to be in a crate so she doesn't move around. She whines about that a bit, but has been fairly accepting overall. She's getting lots of attention from Danae and I when we're around and have time and that seems to mollify her.

I did go with Posi to Minneapolis this past weekend. We were visiting for the wedding of a family member of his. I really enjoyed meeting said family member and his now-wife. She is a doctoral student of neuro-psychology, and there was a heck of a lot of conceptual overlap between her work and the linguistic and cultural sub-fields of anthropology. We talked briefly about the nature of perception and language, understandings of faceblindness as an absolute vs. a spectrum (and confusion thereof), and other interesting things. As we talked about language, I thought of the Pirahã, who I'd learned about in the linguistic anthro class I took and asked her whether she knew of them. It turned out she'd just taught about them the week before in her class! They're the sort of people I'd love to be social with if we weren't six hours away.

We ate at the Wisconsin Dells both on the way there and the way back. The dells look so sprawly to me these days. I feel like they're being homogenized, losing their distinct character. A few things are left that I get the sense have been there for decades, but so much seems new and indistinct from other touristy areas. I commented to Posi that I wish I could have an experiential knowledge of the dells fifty years ago, before the influence of the interstate highway system and concomitant urban reorganization happened. Though he couldn't give me that, he did tell me a lot about what the place was like thirty years ago when he was there with his family as a kid. It was so nice of him to talk to me about those experiences, and listening to him was a treat.

I'm still having trouble concentrating on reading. I started Jeremy Black's Maps and Politics, and then a biography of Robert Moses, but it's hard to spend much time at a stretch with them. I have a vague feeling that it has something to do with learning to tear through a minimum of a book a week for grad school, but I'm not sure. It's a little hard to get myself to sit down and slowly take in the text rather than dash through for highlights and then dig into particularly relevant bits. (Posi suggested I read a children's book or two to remind my brain that there are other ways to read. The idea is strange, but somewhat appealing.)

Instead, I've been concentrating on learning some music. I got my keyboard from my parents' place, printed out some sheet music for a few songs from games that are dear to me, and have been making some slow progress with them.
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Piper Recovering [Mar. 16th, 2017|08:08 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |relievedrelieved]

The vets got Piper's hip back in joint and she's home with us. She is on strict minimal movement orders for two weeks. We can carry her outside for potty trips, and should be confined from moving around on her own at all other times.

I'm so relieved. I keep thinking of reasons to blame myself. I was encouraging her to be more active because I thought a lot of her caution was because of her low vision. that if she got more comfortable in the space she knows, she could climb up and down stairs on her own. And it may well have been the vision that was slowing her down, but her body wasn't up to her courage.

Even after she's better, she's going to get the royal carrying treatment up and down stairs as long as we have her in our care.

Her fur hadn't even grown back from the last sedation when she was spayed on the 2nd before she had to be sedated again. Her leg is wrapped up in a sling where it will stay for at least a week until we follow up with the regular vet. On the plus side, the emergency vets removed her sutures from the spay. The antibiotics worked and that's healing well.
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