Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What is the answer?

This is the place where I said that I would be honest and my reso-ma-lution was to whine less.  So, honesty and less whining ahoy!  The answer was revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said: "By the power of Graysk- uh, no, it refers to another meme that I'm fairly new to.  See the video below.


Honesty?

Yeah, about that.  This is a place where I have really gone into depth on my cross-dressing but, with one exception, I haven't really discussed my other oddities.  The principal of these is my apparent love of bondage.  When dealing with the situation with my mad ex I mentioned a few times that there was a lot of bondage involved, and I did try it out with Tilly not long after we met.  She wasn't really a fan, after a while she said as much and despite my taking handcuffs to that four poster overnight stay there was no take up since then.  I think I'm still enamoured, possibly more than I am with the idea of cross-dressing.  Interestingly, with the bondage, I appear to be very much a dominant.

I mean, obviously I like the submissive aspects of it, that much is pretty clear from the way I describe my addiction, but I always run into the brick wall of the fact that I'd make a pretty useless sub.  I'm too particular and controlling.  I am a control freak.  The times that I have enjoyed bondage have been when I'm very much in charge and the images/stories that I choose to check out invariably involve women being tied up etc (and I should stress that I seek out consensual stories, even in fiction I'm not a fan of people being forced against their will).  That would suggest that I like the view rather than the feeling.

The beginning of this is slightly more interesting than all I've written on cross-dressing, well, to me at least in that I still don't know where and how all this started.  I have my theories and ideas regarding the cross-dressing, like that memory, but with this particular addiction I have nothing.  It's been with me for about as long as I can remember and totally predates puberty or sexual feelings.  Indeed, for the longest time I didn't know it could be sexual.  I associated cross-dressing with sex a good few years before I associated bondage with it.  I didn't even know it had a name until after I knew about cross-dressing.  Also infantalism - that didn't have a name with me until I'd gone to University!

If I'm going to be honest I guess that I ought to be discussing these issues too.

Ah, I still have loads of work to do and I'm still under the cosh so that will have to do for now.

Yello!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Laziness

Same old, same old.

I read through some old entries, including some of the stuff that I never posted on here, and I am reminded of a few home truths, as well as just how cyclical I have become.  At the moment the only thing that I am missing is wearing my shoes in a morning, or I would be almost exactly the same as I was in December.  Add an e-mail from work and I would be back as I was in January or February.

Tilly has tried to be helpful.  Instead I feel even more stressed that I am letting her down.  Someone else reminded me that not everyone sees the negative all the time in me, to them I am indebted.  But I worry that I have nothing really to say.

My grandmother looks like she is recovering.  When my mother told me this she also confided that she didn't want her to get better because my grandmother getting better means that she will be rude and insulting to my mother again.  It wasn't always this bad, but it's always been a theme as long as I can remember.  I share her concern.  My grandfather seemed to be living for himself again, eating well and being... well, he was my grandfather again, a man I haven't seen since 1998 and I've missed him.  That was when we think my grandmother had a nervous breakdown and when she started being rude and insulting all the time rather than in small chunks here and there.  She'd had a stroke in 1996, I was in the room at the time, and had slowly gone downhill.  Hell, anyone that can quit smoking because they never remembered starting has some serious issues going on.

Heh, I wasn't even going to write about my grandmother tonight, I was going for a status update because I'm autistic / OCD enough to think that I have to post roughly similar numbers of blogposts each month.  I'll run with it for now.

She's got dementia, properly, and it's been going on for a long time.  Both my grandparents come from an age where people did not discuss mental issues, they are children of the post-war British austerity and so one made do and mended.  Families were private affairs, the NHS to be kept at arm's-length to prevent people prying on family business.  People who were depressed were self-indulgent and should buck their ideas up.  Going to the doctor's was a sign of weakness, of an inability to cope, and pride was the most important thing.  They were products of the working class families they were raised by.  The sort that lived in the slums and cleaned their front step every day, kept clean houses, clipped children round the ear a lot and were harsh and brutal to one another due to the environment.  Large families because of economic necessity and hardship as standard.  So my grandparents muddled on.  My mother visited less and, once I went to University, I avoided going out of... well, laziness I guess.  I'm not good at keeping in contact with family or sending cards or phoning or that kind of thing.

My grandfather will be at my niece's naming ceremony thing.  I shall be there too.  It's Sunday.  Because I am a complete retard I forgot to pass on the date to my wife.  Tilly has arranged our daughter's birthday party on the same day.  This means that I must set up the hall with pictures and stuff on the Sunday morning, drive to where my brother lives (approximately an hour and a half away) for a 10am start, then get back home for 2pm in order to help my wife pack up the party and show my face to my surely disappointed daughter.  I'm not looking forward to that kind of time pressure.

I have 32 mock examination papers to mark; 32 Year 9 (they're 13-14 year olds) books to mark (and I've left it a while so it's at a rate of three an hour) and an examination standardisation pack to create for a Year 8 examination.  After that I have reports to write for Year 9, Year 10 and then mark Year 8 examination papers of my own (after checking everyone else is marking theirs of course).  At the end of next week I shall have to mark about 60 Year 7 examinations.  Oh, and there's about 20 Year 13 (17-18 year olds) essays on Russian history to mark too.  Following that I have a timed essay to set for them, which will need marking... It's a never-ending cycle of shit.

Which is why I'm lazy.  I had free time at work today, I could have marked the Year 10 examination papers in that time.  I could have planned and created the standardisation pack.  Hell, I could have written the Year 9 reports.  Instead I read webcomics, read a story entitled "The Girl in my Closet" that I downloaded about two years ago and read through previous entries of this blog that I never published.

Now it is late.  Bed.  If you haven't, check out Yello.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dreams and Nightmares

So, I don't usually record dreams these days, but last night's was a doozy and worth being written down.  I think.

A biot of background: not been sleeping well lately due to stress from work and general feeling of 'down-ness'.  Not terribly unusual for me.  I've been finding it harder to get out of bed since starting back at work and I've been staying up later and stressing more.  So, on the way to meet the family after my daughter's ballet lesson (I met them there after work) I stopped off and bought an energy drink.  Sure, I know, a pair of knickers works better with fewer side effects, I wanted the side effects.  That was 5pm.

Tilly and I had pizza take-out which came with Pepsi.  I drank the Pepsi.  Did I mention that I don't drink things with caffeine in them very often?

I found sleep hard.  At 1am I had severe cramp all up my leg, forcing me to curl up and I wasn't able to walk and get some water to help solve it until about 1.30.  Then I was haunted by images out of the corner of my eye, basically I freaked myself out in the dark and got back to the sofa.  At about 2am I had the sudden feeling that I wasn't alone.  In my dream I had been in my classroom at work, but this abruptly disappeared into proper no-light darkness.  I couldn't move, I couldn't speak.  And someone came into view.

Couldn't describe him now but he scared the living shit out of me.

I said "You're the Devil" out loud, as I woke up too, and then I could see the room again.  I want to stress that my eyes were open and that there was enough glow outside for me to see perfectly well, though it was dark-ish, in the living room.  I further want to stress that I wasn't sleeping very deeply, I had already woken on a number of occasions.  I also want to point out that it had only been half an hour-ish since I was out of bed getting a drink.

When I originally woke I could see nothing but my eyes were open.  Not until I named the scary figure could I see stuff.

Tilly blames caffeine and my choice of pizza.  I think she's probably right.  But Sunday was the first time I took a decision to not go up for Communion.

So, atheists and those of other faiths: convince me!

Please... it was quite scary.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

On parents... pt1



I keep mentioning my parents in passing on here and, after my Easter posts, it was suggested that I have some unresolved Daddy issues.  Well, guilty as charged, but I think there's about 50-50 split between both of those people that brought me into this world.

I've already said about the death of my sister at eleven weeks and how that must have affected my early years.  After all, something like that pretty much cleaved my parents in two, right down the middle, like a chisel.  And, at that point, I would have been around two years old.  I would have been taking my very first steps into independence.  Looking at my children now, it would have been a point in which I was in need of support, nurture and reassurance.  However, as luck would have it, my parents were not able to provide that.  They were reeling from the unexplained death of my sister, dealing with the guilt that they should have been able to do something about it, anything, and the feeling that they were somehow to blame.  My father's mother came to visit my mother after the death and her first words were: "I've never said you were a bad mother, just ask anyone!"  Hardly the sort of supportive comment you want to hear.

Basically, my parents, both of them, would have reverted to their own coping strategies at this point.  My mother had a hard childhood at the hands of her parents.  My grandmother, the one who is dying, was something of a bitter control freak, who truly believed that she was, in her words, "the Queen Bee".  People did what she wanted.  I know that she has abused my grandfather for most of his life, but they're from a different generation, he loves her and would protect his abuser to death.  And he will go on doing so.  The gashes in the walls from thrown plates, the smashed Pyrex dishes, the broken appliances, the changing decor... Basically, violence was never far away in my mother's childhood and she learned to brood and seek revenge elsehwere.  She learned to seek nurture but not to give it.  Her own ability to emote was already pretty stunted, her facial expression does not change - she has the same expression for happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, hope and fear.

This means that I grew up with a mother who was often, through no fault of her own, unable to emote and show me how to emote.  Add in the deathy of her daughter at a formative moment and you have amother that was simply unable to offer me any nurture at all.  My mother needed support.  She needed other people to help.  She had a two year old who learned that crying brought no one and nothing and who probably acted up for fear of losing his mother.  I would have picked up on the melancholy, the sorrow, the emptiness and, at two, I would have had no idea why it had happened nor how to deal with it.  My mother did not get the support and nurture she needed and so could not give it to me.  She was also undiagnosed post-natally depressed after my sister, so I can only guess at how that was magnified by her death.  I know now, looking back, that my mother simply did not cope with things, especially looking after me.  I was too much for her but there was no one else to foist me onto.  Result: I spent most of my time with a mother who resented me on some level, that irrational feeling that the surviving child gets for living whilst the other dies.

I don't blame my mother for this, how can I?  It was something that my mother had no control over and something that was perfectly natural.  In times of stress my mother's coping strategy is to retreat into herself and show nothing.  I would have been ignored and mostly spurned.  I imagine most of my time would have been spent amusing myself.  Experience with my own children shows me that two year olds can look after themselves but only for short periods of time before they need fresh parental input.  And my mother would have been unable to do this.

Irritation and anger would have been the response to most of my entreaties for attention, which would explain my own introversion, and on some level I would have felt out of place.  Perhaps the well-spring of my addiction lies amongst this, or perhaps it does not - maybe these events merely meant that I searched for compassion in a less fulfilling way so that my addiction was thus rather than a safe play that some people have - it made everything more serious and sombre.

My father reacted differently.  Being raised in a home in an era when divorce was unthinkable for the social shame by a gay father and a philandering mother must have placed its strain on his childhood.  My grandfather of course did not have an affair with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia when working for BAe, and certainly there was never a solid gold toilet seat sent when he got diahorrea that I have never seen, oh no.  By the time I remember anything my grandfather had a separate room at the family home and stayed round with Uncle Phil most of the time, where we visited him on occasion.  My grandmother fell in with a Hungarian, who turned out to be an ex-Nazi as it happens and who may well have served in the SS if anything he said toward the end of his life addled with Parkinson's was true.  He certainly served with the Third Reich on the Eastern Front, escaped a Soviet POW camp, escaped Hungary during the 1956 uprising and landed on his feet here in dear old Blighty.  This, as far as I can tell, took place when my father lived at home.  His mother was a gossip who very obviously played favourites, with that spot held by my father's younger sibling.  My father was his father's favourite, but his father was gay, not always home and ostracised from his own family for being gay - I have never met any of my grandfather's family, and I don't think my father has either.

All of this meant that my father had his own demons.  Factor in a teenage conversion at a Billy Graham speaking event, multiple sexual dalliances at University and cheating on my mother before they were married and you get some strange results.  He worked hard, he is, after all, a workaholic; and on some level, I think, resented having children to support.  He liked and aspired to the high life and children represented, in these early years, a kind of responsibility that he didn't relish.  It was from him that I learned that I was born a year after their marriage and that meant most of the time was spent with my mother being pregnant.  I've seen all of the wedding photos, I think my father was expecting a little more time before sprogs arrived - though he always expected sprogs.

He was hit more by the death of my sister, something I only really realised when I saw him at Easter.  I think he had always hoped for a daughter, she would have been his favourite, and looked forward to having that link.  I can relate, having a daughter, there is something about the relationship there that is appealing and therapeutic.  It's different to a relationship between father and son because there is less pressure.  Given my father's own family I can also see how he would felt unbearable pressure with me because I was male and he wouldn't want me going down the route of his father or losing me like his own father lost him.  Rapproachment was gained later in life, before I can remember, but I know that it was lost around the time my father went to University.

Being a workaholic would have meant, and did mean so far as I can piece together, that my father sought solace for the loss of his daughter in work.  He started working away from hom.  Ostensibly to bring in the higher wages that allowed my family to live well but also, I think, to distance himself from the pain of what was going on at home.  He worked long hours, he worked late, I did not see much of him and nor did my mother.  He had an affair at this time too.  I firmly believe that the real reason my parents split up when I was fourteen was because of the death of their daughter and their inability to cope with that sadness as a couple.  My father was always looking for something else and I think this was why.  It meant for that two year old that there was no constant father figure and that his father was never there for him.

As that two year old grew up there was another child to his parents, a younger brother.  For the mother this new addition was a replacement for the daughter, not a perfect one and there was still lingering resentment that he wasn't the girl she wanted, but he was the favourite by comparison to that cold and odd little quiet boy who heard everything but said little that had the termerity to live where the girl had died.  I don't blame that woman for her feelings, they make sense.  For the father, the elder boy became the favourite, insofar as the father was capable of having one.  But some part of the father remembered the girl that was dead and remembered his own childhood.  His method of sparing the boy from the pain of his own parental situation was to distance himself from the boy.  The boy could not be hurt by the father, who believed he would die aged 40, if the boy did not know his father very well.  A fear of failure, of getting it wrong, drove a wedge between the father and the two year old boy that the boy did not understand and could never deal with effectively.  When the father tried to encourage he ended up pushing and forcing, making the boy cry at his own inability to succeed and please the father.  In turn, the father grew more frustrated at his inability to connect with this strange introverted boy and thus became ever more distant.  The mother could not hug this boy like she did the youngest and she could not understand how to connect with the boy after having her own sense of normalcy wrenched from her.  No, she connected instead with the youngest with the kind of desperation one expects of someone suffering PTSD and post-natal depression for the second time.

The elder boy was thus left alone and to his own devices for a long long time.  And part of that boy wondered if it was his own fault, in a wordless and unaware part of himself.  It would become more clear to that boy only when it was suggested and pointed out by others but, by then, it would be too late.  For the parents, all is well and calm.  As far as they can see they have repaired what they can and they have reached the point where they feel healed.  For the boy...

It's late.  Work is not going well again and I feel sick to the stomach with stress and worry.  I shall no doubt return to this, it needs another part.  I don't know when though.


Best keep your songs in the safety of darkness / and never expose them to light // Open with care / back in the box / or your songs might grow wings and take flight

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Our Voices That's All



I was challenged by something I read recently: my words count for nothing.  It reminded me of how some of my students react to my faraway-look-in-the-eye pontificating on how they are the future and stuff.  They get so much trite sounding of cliches that they must be forced to see the truth of it, and even then they often won't believe it.  Something about the concept of being the future is frightening.  Far better for them, it would appear, to believe the more comfortable lie: they will not change anything.  In believing the lie they perpetuate the present and console themselves that there was nothing that they could have done differently.

I disagree.

Ain't it the truth?
Words are powerful.  the ability to read and write, so common now in our societies, is being taken for granted and it shouldn't be.  All words are powerful, every mark a symbol of thought - carrying emotion from one person to another.  Spoken words are often more expressive, but rarely fully utilised, and language can often fail with the fundamentals - 90% of human communication is carried out on a physical level rather than through words - but the written word is capable of astonishing feats.

Furthermore, humans are not rational beings.  Sure, we can use rational thought very well, but it is something that has to be learned for we evolved to be emotional and irrational.  Our environment is best understood in entirely irrational terms.  The more rational we become the more we seek to dominate and exploit the world around us - be that in personal relationships or in our jobs or as a species.  As a consequence, though the written word can only ever have the effect that we want it to have it doesn't actually work that way.  The written word taps into that irrational part of ourselves and can pluck at strings of emotion without us realising it.

Words count for everything.

Most of what I write in this blog is actually for me, a rare thing, and as a consequence I often don't subject any of it to my internal editor.  Reality/Shifts was first written without trying to write it - it spilled from my pen whilst at a debate in which I was there only as a teacher.  My only internal editing of that as I wrote was to avoid sentences starting with pronouns or articles as much as possible.  The rest, the plot and the characters and the setting, was not planned and simply happened.  In that, I believe it to be my best work.  Not critical accalim wise, though it has garnered the most attention of anything I've ever published online, but in terms of how I regard it.
How my internal editor would look if they were a. corporeal
and b. in any way supportive.

This does not mean that what I write here is not believed or that I am not careful with what I record, just that I'm trying very hard to keep my edior away.  No, that's wrong, trying hard implies that I think about it and that would distort what is written here.  I don't think actively about it and, as a consequence, I repeat little bits of sentences - half remembered words and phrases pepper my prose like marshmallows in rocky road.  And, in that, it is probably me at my most honest and it is all in the written word.

My words are all I have.

Hammering out sentences and half-formed
paragraphs like so much pig iron.
But I am a dealer in words, a smith of the sentence, and thus am close to my own cliff face.  I don't mean to suggest that I am a 'Wordsmith' - genuine authors and people with more skills than I get to claim that title, I can aspire to it.  I am aware that I am more a hack - my writing the sum total of everything that I have read myself chewed up, mingled and spat at the page through the loudest typing in human history (there's only so long I can use the excuse that I learned on a typewriter, sooner or later my style has to be, well, my style).  I have no original ideas (a lecturer of mine once pointed out that there's only one of these per century, and it would be somewhat arrogant to believe that it was me that had it) and my trials and tirbulations are far from unique.

Close enough to what I'm trying to say.
It means I manipulate my sentences automatically, I obfusticate as standard.  I am so used to playing with meaning and hiding things in plain sight that it has become second-nature.  Things that I think are crystal clear are not and things I think obvious become hints when read by others.  I used to say, when in the disastrous relationship with my mad-ex, Toby, that I said what I meant but did not always mean everything I said.  I stand by that.  And when I look in the mirror, really look rather than just look, I do not see anything.  Where I should be there is an absence, a hole, a nothing.  I am not transparent, I am opaque, but there is... nothing where I should be.  Within that, nestling hard against the edges of the rational and objective world, there are words.

My words are all that counts.

You have no friends / you won't be missed / I'm here to tell you that you don't exist

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Fear me

Well, it's another short update whilst my brain refuses to write Reality/Shifts or another idea.

I managed to upset my therapist.  My Therapy blu-print was, it seems, rather... too honest.  Like the time I went for a haircut, they got it wrong but it took me leaving and asking my mother to figure it out.  I went back, asked for a refund and got the stares of death, after all I had said it was alright when asked before I left (I don't deal well with conflict or potential conflict).  To try and end it, to try and make the women there feel better, I said "don't worry, I won't be coming back" and smiled as disarmingly as a gawky, under-confident 14 year old could.  It wasn't until I was about half an hour's walk away that I realised precisely what I'd said and why it wouldn't end the stare of death.  Well, my therapy blu-print thing did a similar thing with my therapist.  It explained why each method we'd tried had failed, and why I felt that CBT wasn't going to work.

I guess that muct have read like a slap in the face to the therapist whose spend since the end of August trying to work out how to help me.  I made it worse, she probed on the cross-dressing part, where I said I would continue to do it but secretly, and suggested that maybe I had come to terms with that.  When I had gone for the first session back in July, and since then, I had stated that I wanted to end that part of myself as it had caused so much anger and incomprehension from Tilly.  She had this hopeful look on her face that maybe I had accepted that part of myself.  I answered that it was more like resignation.  Like my spending too long in the shower.  It was still a part of me that I didn't know what to do with but I was just going to have to deal with it as I didn't appear to be changing in any way.  It wasn't until I got home that I realised how much I must have insulted my therapist and how upsetting I must be to have as a client - I essentially told her that everything we'd done was, well, irrelevant and hadn't helped in the slightest.

And okay, I may believe that it's true, but there's no call for being mean and telling others that.  Therapists are people too!

However, it's what I do.  I'm really good at putting my foot in it, I'm tired after attending a Dads' Meet last night and shitting myself over work stuff that isn't getting any better and I'm waiting to find out where it will get worse this time.  I've been feeling sick since Sunday evening and my low mood continues to stay flat-lined.  Even take out with Tilly has descended into farce tonight, we've barely spoken and when we do I can't focus enough to listen to what she's saying and end up talking rubbish, which she calls me on and then I feel stupid.  Worse, I follow this up with "I'll just shut up then" because I genuinely can't string two coherent words let alone thoughts together at the moment and this just makes Tilly feel guilty.  Which makes her look hurt and then feel like she's done something to upset me.

One day it will all be over.  I find myself hoping it will be sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

They're taking the hobbits to Isengard...

I'm a little late on the meme but I found it at last on Youtube.

I guess I wanted to explain some of the references in my last post in a little more detail.

One: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a really good fanfiction.  It takes a single point of divergence, monkeys with some of the cast and turns a children's fantasy that works well for adults into a full blown epic adult-themed novella-y thing.  It's a bit of a 'down' story, very much in minor keys, but it is well written for the most part.  I even managed to overlook the parts where the author patently does not understand the UK or the UK schooling system.  For me to avoid getting angry about such things is remarkable, I can't watch anything on the First World War at all without getting my geek on and essentially ruining the piece for anyone else in earshot.  This means that the fiction is good.  You should read it.

Two: My wife and drinking.  Over the recent break Tilly took to wine again, she hasn't drunk since our boy was born, and it was good to see her back.  We watched the Buffy musical episode and then went straight onto Jesus Christ Superstar, the 2000 edition, and watched that.  During this time Tilly got rather badly tipsy and the conversation became her essentially randomly hitting tangents on aspects as diverse as musical variations on musical songs, the state of theology in education, the situation of society and she and I.  She thanked me for 'saving her' from her old days of being an angsty student who identified with Whedon's world view but also went into depth on how our relationship was essentially doomed as I can't make the necessary changes to give myself some space etc.  She also, before she got tipsy, explained how she wanted a third child.
You'd think I'd be into Rose, what with
my addiction and all, but no.  I prefer
real ale.  And I have a beard, how very
surprising.

I was welcome, she said, to refuse a third child but I should be aware that she would end up under a train or slitting her wrists if that were my decision.  She understood that I did not want a third child but explained that if I was to stick to that then I did not understand her own emotional attachment to the concept.  If asked to choose, she would either walk away and have a third child with someone else or she would prefer to die.  Bear in mind that this was before she started drinking and delivered in the same way one would relate an anecdote of meeting a friend whilst out for a walk.  The last time we had a conversation anywhere near this one was following Tilly's miscarriage and before we got a pet chinchilla as a way of delaying having the two children we had agreed we would have.

As a footnote to that saga, I should point out that we got the pet and then managed to create our daughter early by accident anyway.  Tilly was supposed to be on the pill but forgot (she went on because she said that condoms made her 'itchy') and so she ended up pregnant anyway.  There were many conversations about how she was so in need of an infant that she would sooner die than delay.  Talk of a third child surfaced close to the end of her pregnancy with our son.

Honestly, given the Hell of an experience that both of Tilly's pregnancies were (no intimacy due to 'sicky' feelings, constant negative mood swings, argumentativeness, criticism of everything I did, lack of sleep, increase in food costs generally, insults, physical problems, being relegated to sleeping on the sofa... wait, they're still there) I'm not sure I want her pregnant again.  Both pregnancies were awful for me, and pretty bad for her too, so I'm not mad-keen to go back.  Still, the alternative is suicide or being left alone so...

Three: My own mood is linked to going back to work.  I hate the pressure, and I worry that at any moment something I've missed will bite me on the bum.  I'm waiting for it all to go wrong.  I want out.  I can't cope in my position, I don't like my job (I love teaching, I just dislike everything else about it).  I have reached the stage that I remember saying that if I reached I would get out of teaching.  Teaching is the most awesome job in the world but if I can't, hand on heart, recommend it to other prospective teachers then it is time for me to leave.  Trouble is, there's not anything else out there that I can do that pays what I am paid...

Four: Being dressed.  I wore the dress from ASDA and the boots in ensemble.  It was fantastic.  I didn't mark in them, I was reading the fanfic from Point 1, but it was lovely.  I can't really describe why it was that I felt so at home, I can only relate that I did feel completely at peace with myself.

Earlier in the break I wore the get up for myself and my son.  He's coming up two and is non-verbal.  If this is being a part of who I am then honesty dictates that my children ought to know.  Interestingly he tried to take the boots off my feet, shaking his head the whole time, and was most perturbed by my dress.  He didn't seem to know what to make of it all and grudgingly did his teeth with me, but his demeanour was enough to make me give up the enterprise after about six minutes (nothing like being precise).  I found it intellectually interesting that his response was so strong and negative at such a young age without any conscious conditioning of clothing expectations by either my wife or I.  He has no truck with Tilly wearing trousers, shirts, even some of my clothes but he gets most put out by me in a dress and boots.  Maybe Tilly does have a point about male cross-dressing.

Too much to ask?  Too much to ask.

Okay, I'm done.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Quiet...

I've not been posting like I thought I'd be.

Why?

One: I've been mulling over what my Dad said.  Harsh or not, it doesn't matter, the point is that he is right.  He also made the remark "maybe therapy isn't for you".  And I think he was right.  I don't understand therapy, I don't get how it is supposed to work.  As a consequence I find it very unlikely that it will work.  And, as part of therapy is the fact that you want to change, I don't feel that it can work on me right at the moment.  I don't want to change.  I am a bit of a lazy bastard who rather knows where he is and is comfortable, not happy, with the way of things.  I know what things look like.  And I am scared by change.  Terrified.  It leads to the unknown.

Two: I've been reading good fanfiction.  I know, I didn't think it could exist either.  But it does.  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/1/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality  It is awesome.  And scary.  And I feel like I'm emulating it as I write.

Three: I dressed yesterday, full regalia, and I felt whole.  I didn't feel like a woman, I didn't feel the need to have people accept it, I felt like me.  I even applied the term "honey" to myself in my monologue, which shocked me a bit.  And it didn't even hurt at all to wear the heeled boots, rather, they felt... right.

And I don't understand.  Perhaps I don't even care.  I'm losing my relationship with my daughter inch by inch because I can't seem to stop playing favourites with my son; I stand to lose much more at work and financially; eventually Tilly is going to walk away (we had some wine, she got talkative, none of what she had to say was anything other than awful, but she meant well) - and, no, I don't care.  I don't want to live alone.  But I cannot live with others.

When my time comes, I don't wish to be remembered.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter

First post since Easter.  First post with the new blogger format.  It looks cleverer but does much the same thing, and the formating issues are still live.  I blame my browser.  I also can't view animated .gif files, which is a pain.

Of course I like the image, it's bloody feminine.
Been to my Father's for Easter, took the kids.  I'd previously splurged/vomited at him over the 'phone, so he was anxious to say something about the whole work situation.  Well, no, his wife told him that he had to say something (did I mention my parents were divorced?  I'm pretty certain I did).  So, he did.  In the nicest way possible he summarised my issues as the following:
1. I don't listen;
2. I don't answer what I'm asked (I'm too wordy);
3. I talk too much;
4. I think I am the big "I am";
5. I have no people skills and
6. I need to work harder.

Well, I guess he's right.  He then poked fun at our daughter's accent in that 'playing to the gallery' way he has and zoned out due to work e-mail on his mobile a few times (you don't get paid monthly what I get in a year in the civil service unless you're a workaholic or a Freemason, and he hates Freemasonry with a fiery passion undying).  I'm not being kind to him: it was a good few days and my family had a great time.  He meant well.  And, yes, he's right.

Not a lot else to add.  I haven't worked on Reality/Shifts and I have much work to do in the next week.  I've done fuck all today too.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Consolidation Plan

As part of my last CBT session my therapist was, well, rather disappointed that I hadn't made any progress whatsoever on something she referred to as a "therapy blu-print", to the point where she even suggested that we junk the session and rearrange for another time.  We didn't, but the guilt trip worked and I'm now here to do something on it.

The example version that I was given to work from (did I mention how much I like to work from examples?) is called a Relapse Prevention Plan from someone who managed to sort themselves out and get 'fixed' in the 20 sessions the NHS deem necessary.  I was given this particular example because it was the mos compassionate that my therapist had to offer.  As part of this process I was also given a series of questions to answer, which I shall list here to make sure I cover:

1. Define the problem
2. How has this been developed and understood?
3. Evaluate the strategies that have been used to deal with it.
4. Where do we go from here? What changes need to be made?
5. Create a 'Crisis Plan' - to deal with the problem if it gets too much again

I'll be honest, I'm not looking forward to any of this.  The final stricture is that the whole thing be about two sides of A4, so about 800 words, give or take.  I could write, have written, ten times that on the problem alone.

The Plan
As a consequence of my life experience and my own internal analysis of situations I reached the point where I find it difficult to rate myself as being 'worthy' or 'useful'. This is, in part, down to the way that I was raised, my parents underwent the loss of a child to cot-death - no explicable cause of death or way of avoiding it - and suffered as a consequence; and, in part, down to my own introversion as a child.  Coupled with moving house this created a situation where I found it hard to make friends or connect on an emotional level with others, something that I came to actively support and encourage.

Allied to this were increasing feelings that there was a reason for my not fitting in and an identification with those of different gender to myself, culminating in puberty with a feeling that I was not entirely 'male' and, again, was at variance with those around me.  As a consequence I developed a coping mechanism that distanced me from other people, actively or passively, and where I would seek to negatively reinforce behaviours that I classified as 'helpful' or 'useful'.  That is, creating behaviours that I found acceptable or desirable through punishing those aspects that did not fall under these headings.  In time I came to accept that I was not able to live up to my own standards and thus created situations where I would reinforce my core belief that I was useless and unlovable, where 'different' was equated with 'wrong'.

In relationships, which were few, I am haunted by the fear that it will end, that any emotional involvement will inevitably lead to the end of a relationship and painful suffering once that relationship is over.  As a consequence I avoided any relationships of any kind and sought to fade into the background, hiding this behaviour with extravagant displays of comedy, humour, intelligence and debate which, in turn, engendered group social situations that I felt I could manipulate and control.

These coping mechanisms failed when a friend, colleague and superior at my workplace deemed me unfit for the job he had helped recruit me for.  This tapped into my own insecurities surrounding what I was being asked to do and so I internalised the criticisms and accusations.  This led me to begin active sabotage of my own work and my home life and family relationships.  I feel that I am useless and ineffective and support this by being useless and ineffective.  Where anger is not appropriate I feel anger, where self-absorption is an issue I respond with self-absorption and where assertiveness was called for I respond with passivity.

In these times of stress I returned to coping mechanisms long dormant with a vengeance and, in revealing them once more to my wife, was met with incomprehension and anger.  This, combined with the situation at work, pushed me into a depression deep enough to make me seek help.

In CBT I was asked to develop mechanisms that were healthier ways of dealing with the problems I faced and created.  These included SMART targets, which I subverted and a survey to test my own core beliefs, which I not only subverted but also confirmed that my problems were more complex than I was prepared to admit.  Being Mindful worked in the short term, in that I was able to create a functioning safe place and focus on the feelings in a shower.  However, in both cases I actively subverted the technique and destroyed any benefits that these methods may have in the long-term, culminating in the destruction of the safe place as an effective method and simple abandonment of Mindfulness in the shower.  Being unable to imagine a life where I was not beset by my inner-critic or actively sabotaging my own life we moved to Chair Work.  This proved effective in that I could create compassionate answers to some of the internal criticism I subjected myself to, however, it also created a violent and angry response in me through the fear of something working.  I also attempted to write compassionate letters to myself but found this time-consuming and of limited benefit - once these letters were written I consigned them to the bin, certainly I had no urge to re-read them and, in writing them, I tended to be sarcastic, caustic and disparaging to the point of condescension.

In order to rescue my relationship with my wife, my children and attempt to save my job I need to be less passive in general.  I need to change my own anger response, my lashing out at anyone close enough when faced with the fear of things going well, and create more appropriate coping strategies than I currently use.  I need to see the good in myself, what it is that God loves, in order to effectively love others.  If I cannot nurture myself then it is unlikely that I shall be able to offer adequate nurture to other people.  I must find a way to be supportive of my wife, so that she can rely on me to undertake simple day-to-day tasks without fear of me 'flipping out' or crumbling.  At work I must find a way to manage my time more effectively and operate without fear of being 'found out' that creates the very situation in which people feel that I have something to hide, however erroneously.  To do this I must a find a way in which I can engage in therapy, of any flavour, rather than attempting to manipulate and subvert it.

To cope in future crises I shall avoid making sweeping statements of my own lack of utility or threatening to walk away from the perceived issue at the time (be that job-related or relationship-based).  I shall also attempt to respond in a more reasonable and appropriate manner to the issues raised with an increased assertiveness of my own views and thoughts on any given issue.  I shall, in effect, emerge fighting in situations where there is unfairness or a lack of recognition of my own feelings and thoughts but be prepared to hear views aside from my own at the same time.  Rather than avoid stressful aspects of my work I shall instead attempt to process them so that I am not left feeling that I am not achieving and, more importantly, others do not feel that I am failing in my duties and responsibilities.  I shall attempt to create and adhere to a planned timetable where I have time for myself rather than grabbing time here and there, feeling that I have no time and then failing to carry out basic tasks for work or family - thereby avoiding the more gregarious and flagrant abuses of position that I am accused of making.  Where I cross-dress I will do so privately and in secret, no one needs to know or wants to hear it, and I shall attempt to minimise the financial impact of clothes buying.  This will be part of the timetable planning to avoid the stress that such a situation may cause and minimise the disruption that keeping it private will inevitably bring.  This applies equally to singing and dancing to loud music - it is inappropriate to engage in these behaviours in the home, with small children, or the workplace.  Finally, I shall choose who I speak to about my problems with more care than I do currently: fears about my workplace are best not shared with my colleagues or my parents, for example; equally, relationship issues are best not discussed with my wife, colleagues or family; and finally, cross-dressing is best not discussed except on the anonymous blog created for that purpose.

Whilst these measures mean I can never become too public a figure they may mean that future crises will be less debilitating.

Huh.

So I got the following:


S.A.G.E. Test Results
Your Raw Score is: -300, which indicates that overall you are Androgynous
Your appearance is Masculine
Your brain processes are mostly that of a Androgynous person.
You appear to socialize in a androgynous manner.
You believe you have mild conflicts about your gender identity.
You indicated your were born Male.
ANALYSIS:
Male to Female Crossdresser
NOTES:
  • Your Answers indicate your psychological state has likely prevailed since you were quite young.
  • You are in a statistical minority as a anallophilic crossdresser. Most crossdressers are heterosexual. Your motivation for crossdressing may be driven by the undirected nature of your sexuality, as a way to more fully explore the Female gender role.
On this: http://www.hemingways.org/GIDinfo/sage/

Apart from egregarious spelling errors I found this... different.

And the formatting issues on blogspot are going to slowly drive me mad!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Celebration Pt2

Reality/ShiftsChapter 1 - The Rescue: part 1, part 2, part 3
CHAPTER TWO - The Celebration: part 1

Lost in his musings Pete almost missed the change in air that announced the beginning of song. Women's voices filled the night sky and there was a definite melody, at once melancholic and energising, carried on the breeze to where he lay. Delicate, as though it were far away, but in truth merely dulled by the walls between the stable and the hunting hall. No instruments were played, but harmonies rose and fell in guttural Germanic tones, shifting this way and that, all balanced on a scale that he recalled from his own home and would not have sounded out of place on the radio. He listened, enjoying the sound, taking in the smells around him, and would have fallen to sleep were it not for the almost sudden change into what was clearly less high-minded fare. Where the first melodies had been refined, guttural but Latinate in places, there was now a deeper rumble, instruments joined in the melodies, other voices took up the sounds and the language became lower, more like the gibberish that the knight had been speaking.

A drum played the beat, a stringed instrument took up accompaniment and there were flutes. Voices rose and fell like waves, the notes began to deviate from what he was used to hearing, and he almost knew that he was listening to scale that had never been codified. It was the accordion that brought the standardised scale to Europe, his lecturer had said as a tangent many years ago, before then the notes were different from place to place. Now those notes were haunting, ribald, pugnacious, dirty and sweaty all at once. Moments of sorrow, near keening, replaced inexplicably with joyous rousting and shouted chorus, then back to melancholy before something that sounded almost certain to carry swear words and lewd remarks. Laughter carried with it. Shifting nervously, the knight's horse shook its head and then returned to something approximating sleep.

"Pulsheer wee-ergo?"

Pete started and looked to the door of the stable. The Page had entered, his rough face scowling through the gloom for no one had set any lights. In the gathering gloam there was evidence of things in the boy's hands, though he did not look as young as he ought, Pete guessed his age at about fourteen which would surely have made him an adult. Such observations were solely based on his own knowledge of the period and the fact that there was a female knight had told him enough of the time he was now in that he could take nothing for granted.

"Ego sum... hier?" I am with here in German, Pete was having trouble recalling enough Latin."Minne mast-uh bid may gave yoo theese." The Page laboured with the words like one taught them by rote. "Fee-ar mee-din." Making an awkward bow he laid an earthenware jug and a hunk of bread at Pete's feet before retreating, "Minne Mast-uh bid may tell yoo no fair, see yoo morr-neng." With that, the Page left, leaving Pete wondering if the boy, man, was just illiterate or drunk.

A sniff of the jug confirmed his suspicions: the yeasty odour was indicative of a stronger brew than he had been treated to on the journey and was probably supposed to be a treat. Which it would have been had the bonds allowed him to actually pick the damn' thing up. As it was, Pete slaked his thirst with some of the water in trough, it would have to be clean for the knight's horse after all, a few hours earlier. Luckily he was able to rescue the bread with his teeth and found it pleasantly spiced with cinnamon. Dropping it into his hands, Pete made short work of the rest and managed to get enough water from the trough to slake his thirsdt, leaving the strong beer untouched. After that it was an uncomfortable, but functional, toilet and then he practically fell asleep where he lay without further ado. As he was drifting off, Pete wondered just how far things would go.


Somewhen else
Predator. A predator hunted prey, was invariably carnivorous and inevitably fit and lithe. She had been called worse things in her time and so accepted the epithet with as much good grace as she could muster. True, she had hunted him down and had enjoyed the experience but, in all honesty, she thought of herself as beyond a mere animal. When she grinned she showed all of her teeth and was aware that this was not an inviting look. "You could say that, yes, I suppose that I am."

"I haven't done anything wrong, you know."

A moment while she pretended to mull it over. "I don't much care," it never hurt to be honest about things, "You talk like that should mean something."

"Don't you have a conscience?"

"Conscience?" Not so much an echo as a genuine philosophical musing. "A conscience," this time she scoffed, "It's an invention of a middle-class." Laughter followed, semi-real and mostly sarcastic and bitter, "Conscience." Her eyes hardened and brow furrowed with purpose. "I take it that you do?"

She enjoyed watching the realisation pass across his face, playing over his features like some zhĭ yĭng xì, paper tigers marching over thin white background, illuminated only by his own slow horror."You already called me an animal," she reminded him, "Whatever made you think I would behave any differently?"

Levelling the technology as if orientation made the slightest change to how it would work she tapped in the fuzzy logic command and waited. No light show greeted the result, there was nothing to suggest that anything changed, her target simply was there one moment and gone the next, nothing replaced him and the only sound was a small 'bang' as the air rushed to fill the resultant vacuum. And the hint of wet slopping as food that had been somewhere within his body hit the floor, not yet digested enough to have been considered 'part' of her target but foul-smelling enough to keep her from hanging around too long.

An insistent red light on the display caught her attention. "Ah," she announced to no one in particular, her ebullience fading, "They were quicker than last time." Changing the settings to a saved pattern she selected the randomiser and hit the 'execute' command. A sensation that she never got used to followed, the tang of copper at the back of her throat and the dry sensation over her skin like a day spent at a beach, and then she was in some kind of woodland setting. It wouldn't be enough to hold them at bay for very long, she walked a few paces, physical differences in location of a few metres could produce wildly different destinations for reasons that she'd never bothered looking into, and then hit the command a second time.

Something about the air was wrong, she decided, there was a smell that she didn't recognise and there was something... missing."

You must be the famous Anastasia Cable I've heard so much about."Whirling to face the source of the comment she instinctively began the process of retargeting, only to find that the device was not there any more.

"One should never meet one's heroes, it's always such a disappointment." She saw the man, leaning nonchalantly against a tree and smiling in a way that she decided was much like her own expression had been. "Still, I can't say everything about this has been a complete waste of time."

Anastasia knew he wanted some kind of comment or response, she forced herself to remain silent and tried to map the terrain as best she could. He couldn't have known she was going to arrive here without some pretty sophisticated kit and so he would have to have-

"Don't worry about that," he interjected calmly, almost chidingly, "I've been waiting here long enough to make sure you won't get that sort of chance at my equipment. My dear Anastasia, you forget how these things work. My, I had thought that perhaps they had underestimated you and that you were merely stringing them along, how very upsetting that they turn out to be correct."

She gave him a level stare. Time travel.

"Yes, time travel, I never liked the term. I know you're no fan. Seems almost... vulgar for the finesse of our operation. But oft over-looked due to it being so little understood." He hadn't even bothered to move from his position, just out of reach. "My, but where are my manners? Hedley Scott, at your service." He bowed low but his eyes never left her for a moment. It was very clear that he was treating her with a great deal of professional respect. "I have," pausing, he straightened up, "A proposition for you." A shrug. "You don't have to agree, of course, I respect any wounded pride, but I feel that I should offer nevertheless."

The merest hint of playing for time was rejected. "Go on."

"Have you ever considered playing your part for real? A knight-errant in the proper sense of the term, rather than merely playing that role for your own amusement? Derring-do, rescues, that kind of thing?"

"Mister Scott, I don't know what psych-evaluation you've been reading but let me assure you tha-"

"Oh come come, my dear Anastasia, I've been reading your journal."

"I don't-"

"No, you didn't," he corrected carefully, "In multiple Universe theory, however, the rest of you did. None of us is unique, you know, there are no special snowflakes. Probability is a harsh mistress."

Grudgingly she had to admit his logic worked with a slow nod.

"Of course, I did wonder why you tracked the way you did. Tell me, for my own curiosity: was it because of vanity or fear?"

"Mister Scott, I suspect you already know. Of course it was fear." Fear of meeting herself, of seeing what she could have become if she had chosen differently.

"Anastasia, this has been enchanting. My earlier disappointment was misplaced. You spoke in the past tense." This time his smile had real warmth, almost affection, and a definite respect beyond professionalism. "For that, I shall do what I can to make this easy for you."

"Thank you," she meant it, "Perhaps we can meet again one day."

A curt nod. "Perhaps."

Copper, salt-water and paper-cuts...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Dronkon-ness

Misspellings are deliberate in the title, think Chaucer.  But I have been drinking.  Went footling for 90s dance stuff.  Found a track that reminded me of when I was revising for my GCSEs, or maybe they were over and it was the extended summer holidays.  It may have been between A Levels and University.  My Dad had left.  I found a stash of really short aprons in a drawer in the kitchen, obviously sexualised items, and I decided it would be a good idea to wear the shortest and most frilly and tie myself by the neck to the kitchen tap.  Must have been my Mum's.  She must have noticed when she moved that they had been tampered with.  Maybe she didn't.

A few days later I would do the same but in our shed.  I screwed a picture holder into the roof and dressed only in the apron.  Tied my neck to the screw and then my wrists together behind my back.  I'd taken a pair of scissors as a safety precaution.  I had no idea why I did it either then or now.

So which is it?  Bondage, emasculation or femininity?

This is off two Real Ales (Brakspear Organic Beer [4.6%, 2.3 units] and IPA [5.9%, 3 units]).  I am such a lightweight it's not even funny.  There's an odd feeling about me but it's not liberation.