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Transitioning into liminal space

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I'm Still Here! [Dec. 5th, 2016|05:19 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, , ]
[State of Being |optimisticoptimistic]

Hey there; I've been away a while. Let's start with a picture of my fantastic new helmet!

New Helmet

Pride colors!! (I know, generally the pride rainbow only has six stripes.)

The chin strap snap (say that six times fast) on my last helmet broke and I haven't been able to ride my bike for a few weeks. And before that, I wasn't riding anyway because it seemed like way too much effort. I decided to buy a cheap new helmet (they are basically all equivalently effective if they are certified properly), but I have a giant head and nothing at Target or the local bike store fit. A lot of people claim that Nutcase's size large helmets fit their big heads, and there were a couple designs on sale on their site, so I was going to buy one of those. Then I saw the rainbow one, which though not on sale, was one of the small number of designs available in large. I had to have it. It makes me feel excited about riding again; it makes me hope people look at it and smile.

Yesterday, Danae and I had decided to drive up to Kenosha to see my parents before we leave for Canada this week (more about that later), and the idea of biking the forty miles up there got me more excited than anything else has for a long time. So I did! It was about 34°F (around 1°C) and the first snowfall of the year was happening here, so by the time I got to Kenosha, four hours after leaving, my jeans, jacket, and shoes were soaked with melted snow, my right arm was sore from where I slipped on an icy patch near the state line and took a fall (time to switch to my studded tires....) and my butt was kind of angry from a sudden four-hour-long return to the saddle. I felt warm when I got to Kenosha, but as soon as I sat down in my parents house and wasn't producing heat from muscle use, I started shivering violently, even after switching out of wet clothes. I sat under a blanket until I managed to warm up in ten minutes or so.

It was the best experience I've had in a long time! I wanna do it again! With different gear....

Yay! Pride helmet! It's so pretty that I'm not sure whether I want to put a genderqueer sticker on it like I did with my other one....but I probably will.

I haven't done a whole lot else recently, which is tied to my absence from LJ. As I wrote a few days ago on Facebook:

I have near-completely failed to cope in the last couple of days. I'm torn about social media. Either I stay away from it and feel anxious and depressed because I feel disconnected and lonely, or I'm on it and I feel anxious and depressed because I find out what's going on in the world (and still don't really feel connected to anybody anyway). Things have been bad since the election, but the last couple days were bad enough that I've decided to connect with my doctor again and talk about a medication change.

I may remove myself from Facebook entirely for a while. Maybe that will give me more energy for Livejournal where the kind of conversations I have are more in-depth and personally satisfying to me. I've been away from there too, and I miss the people there, even though the connections there feel kind of distant too.

If you tag me here, or message me, or otherwise contact me via Facebook, I may not see or respond for quite a while. Sorry about that.

Staying away from Facebook has been good for me, and I plan to continue doing so for at least the near-term. I also mean to get back to reading and writing here on LJ regularly. Now that I'm undepressed enough to have energy to read and write again, this is the place, you are the people, I want to read and write with. *hugs*
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Singing to the Kitties [Nov. 24th, 2016|11:14 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |contentcontent]

This morning, I sang to the friends' kitties I'm taking care of while they're away.

"Got pettings? I'll do anything for you. Got pettings? Just tell me what you want me to do.
Bow down before the cats you serve! You're going to pet them 'till they purr!"

*To the tune of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole".

The kitties were unimpressed, but pleased to get their treats.
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Space Buns! [Nov. 19th, 2016|10:09 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
The lobby of the arts building at UW Steven's Point is one of the most awesome brutalist interiors I've ever seen! I love this space! There will be a few pictures once I get home.

Also, thanks to my dad's students, my hair is in space buns!
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Escapist Video Gaming! [Nov. 12th, 2016|07:57 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |contentcontent]

This afternoon was fantastic. My supportive, thoughtful partner Danae bought me deep dish Giordano's with every topping I wanted. We ordered a super-pretty red velvet cake for my birthday. We had a nice walk with Piper. And we went and saw Doctor Strange. I feel good for a change.

Why do I keep looking at all this negative stuff on social media when I'm already having a difficult few days? I'm going to play a little more Stardew Valley, since my brother gave me a copy a few days ago. It's pretty, cute, and idyllic.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to come over for birthday cake on Monday or Tuesday to help us eat it, please let me know!
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Presentation of the Self in Everyday Confusion [Nov. 11th, 2016|12:02 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Moving away, for the moment, from thoughts about national politics (though thoughts about trans issues stemming from that election are the inspiration for these thoughts):

I just reread my post about being a queer, agender person who passes easily for straight and cis-male. There's a big part of me that feels like claiming those identities is unfair because I'm doing it from a position of privilege. I don't have anything like the strength of will that a transperson who deals with daily transphobia does. I can take up femininity when it suits me, in safe spaces, and pat myself on the back for my bravery, and go back to being a plain old cis-male until next time.

A month or so ago, I wore a skirt in public for the first time. I was at a party at Posi's place, and he and my dad and I were all going to go grocery shopping, but I hadn't brought masculine clothes. They both encouraged me to just wear the skirt I had on, and I did. I felt intensely self-conscious and somewhat fearful while walking through Big!Lots. Beyond that, while I felt some of the feelings of liberation that I've read about people feeling when they finally muster the courage to wear gender-appropriate clothes that don't match their biological sex in public, it was not the most prominent feeling. I guess at this point, having thought about the experience from time to time, I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

Analyzing this now, I realize that I am, again, prioritizing others over, or at least equally with, myself in this thought process. Yes, I could just wear the things that make me happy and not give a damn about what other people think. But that feels selfish. If I can use my presentation and appearance to fight bigotry, maybe I have an obligation to. But if I allow obligation to shape my presentation of self, is that really an authentic presentation? And if I'm not presenting my authentic self - if I wear traditionally feminine trappings as a biological male for reasons other than that they simply feel good and right to me - what does that mean for trans people whose relationship with those trappings puts them between a rock and a hard place in a way that I will never experience?

Some trans people talk about how wearing the clothing of their bio-sex feels like a costume. I feel some of that. If it were totally up to me, I'd occasionally be wearing pigtails and skirts and painting my nails fun colors. But taking on some of those elements of feminine presentation *also* feels like a costume. But maybe that's why Erving Goffman's "Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life" struck home with me. I can't escape the point of view that everything I wear - literally everything - is a costume. It is a costume because it is shaped by my understanding of social custom and expectation and how I want to fit, or not fit, within that system. None of it is the true me.

What does one do when one doesn't actually *have* what feels like an internal, unmutable, personal identity that one feels one needs to express? Can I wear anything that makes me happy, or, as I've felt through so much of my life in so many other ways, am I always an outsider grudgingly allowed into the periphery? Am I part of all groups, or none?
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(no subject) [Nov. 9th, 2016|06:50 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
Talking about Michelle Obama running for President is ridiculous. It also feels like an attack on Hillary Clinton. Being the spouse of a politician does not make you qualified to be a politician. H. Clinton has qualifications out the ass. M. Obama, awesome as she is, does not. Suggesting that she ought to run for President could be seen to be implying that H. Clinton was qualified at least in part because she was married to B. Clinton. That has nothing to do with it.
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Visibility [Nov. 9th, 2016|12:29 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, ]
[State of Being |determineddetermined]

I said that I don't know what to do at this point. I still have few good ideas. One good idea comes from my housemate who wrote about wearing his pink triangle necklace today.

For a long time, as a queer, agender person who easily passes for male and heterosexual, I've felt a low level of guilt about riding the coattails of that social privilege, but I haven't come up with any good ways to be casually visible as a queer person. I'm going to commission my good friend and wireworker Lisa to make a pink triangle necklace for me that I plan to wear regularly. Perhaps you'd consider taking steps to be be a small but visible presence against the forces of bigotry and hatred too? And commissioning such a symbol of visibility from an individual craftsperson supports the kind of economic relationships I'd like to see more of as well.
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(no subject) [Nov. 9th, 2016|01:19 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, , ]
[State of Being |sadsad]

My primary motivation for going back to school, both undergrad and my interrupted attempt at grad school, were motivated in large part by my desire to understand and improve the social systems and political economies that are such a large part of shaping people's lives. I want to understand, publicize, and fight systemic inequality.

My experience in Syracuse connected those desires to feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, and futility that I haven't been able to get out from under. The results of this election have exacerbated those feelings. I feel scared and helpless. I don't know what to do.
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Election Time! [Nov. 7th, 2016|03:44 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, ]
[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

There are dozens and dozens of judges up for retention in my voting area. There's no way to rationally be fully informed about all of them. I wish I could find a broader set of evaluations of judges by organizations that have goals other than simply evaluating their fitness. Evaluation based on their sentencing habits for drug offenses, for instance. But what I do have is a sample ballot from the Chicago Council of Lawyers with their recommendations for or against retention. I'll likely just go with that. You can access that sample ballot from their webpage.

They got it right in this past instance, mentioned in a Chicago Reader story! "The CCL evaluations have sometimes offended sitting judges, whom the CCL also evaluates for retention. (There will be a judicial retention election here in November.) In 1984, when the CCL found criminal court judge Thomas Maloney unqualified for retention, he called the council's members a bunch of "barely competent and incompetent misfits and malcontents." Maloney was retained by voters, but went to prison in 1994 for fixing murder cases."

One set of candidates of interest to me are running for the MWRD (Municipal Water Reclamation District) of Greater Chicago. WTTW profiled and talked to the MWRD candidates. Having gone through them, I'm going to vote for the Green Party candidates. They're not perfect. These Greens seem to be in favor of selling long-term leased property and returning it to tax rolls. I have a problem with that in that it supports the kind of systemic inequality that contributes to abysmal urban living conditions under capitalist systems. I'd rather see publicly-owned land be put to public uses. But other than that, the Green party candidates focus on some important environmental issues that I think would be good to address. More info about them here.
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Election [Nov. 7th, 2016|01:27 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |hopefulhopeful]

One popularly expressed sentiment about the election is that people want their friends to go vote. That 'it doesn't matter to me who you vote for, just make sure you vote.'

I appreciate that sentiment, but I can't share it. It does matter to me who you vote for, especially for PotUS. It matters a lot. Voting for Clinton is, as Jim Wright expresses in the linked article, doing the best we can with what we have. To switch to my own words, voting for Donald Trump is, instead, an attack on numerous forms of civil rights that are very dear to me and people I care about. There are many other problems I have with the idea of voting for Trump. But it's a large part of why it matters a lot to me who you vote for. I'm willing to be convinced, but It's difficult to imagine how I could sustain a friendly relationship with someone who votes for Donald Trump. Not because of politics: because of what it says about beliefs and values. It's not about parties here. It's about a person, and the beliefs behind that person and his supporters.

I realize that Clinton and Trump are not the only options. But, referencing Wright again, they are the only pragmatic ones. A vote for Stein, for instance, I can understand, though I strongly disagree with it. A vote for Trump is unconscionable.

You can take that for what it's worth to you.
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