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the fit of my feelings

May 16, 2015

I’m getting much better at noticing that something is bothering me. But the pace of figuring out what it is seems glacially slow.

And then I still have to decide how to deal with it.

Everyone else must’ve learned this stuff when they were kids — by the time they were grown and their brains were complex, they were whizzes at it. But it’s a developmental stage that I must’ve skipped, or if I learned it, it was only in the most slapdash / guesstimate way.

All I can do is start from where I’m at.

= = =

Parts of me feel like learning these sorts of things, in real time, in public, is so unseemly that that discomfort trumps (should trump) how useful it is, and how much hands-on respect for my inner voices I’m learning.

Parts of me disagree.

I want to someday have the skills to talk about my feelings (if I wish) in real time, even if they are intense and/or uncomfortable. Currently, there is a lag of several days; sometimes, it’s weeks or months.

It’s still scary to… have… feelings. To admit to having feelings. 40 years of being utterly convinced I was an INTP indelibly marked me.

People who “deal with their feelings — where other people can see them!” are fluffy, woolly-headed, flaky types. I’m nothing like that! I’m rational! I’m logical!

And I am / can be rational and logical. But that’s not the whole story.

= = =

I’m experimenting with new gender labels: maybe agender fits me better than nonbinary.

I just realized… I’ve probably known people on Twitter for a while that identify as agender, but… there’s a new-to-me person, who’s a scientist, and seems NT-ish. I think I have a bit of a crush on them. In some ways, they (seem to have) made all the ideal choices that I couldn’t/didn’t. And while their life is still difficult in many ways (including many ways my life was not), they have arrived to professional heights I will never reach. They have colleagues and friends who respect them.

I miss feeling like that was something I could strive for.

If I just “fix myself” enough, someday there’ll be a place for me.

= = =

My former therapist, P, insisted that human beings can only negotiate big changes in their identity amidst their relationships with other human beings.

That hasn’t been my experience at all.

In some ways, it would be easier if it had been.

Thing is, I’m pretty solitary: does that mean that I can’t change my identity?

If I try to make new friends mostly so I can renegotiate who I am, wouldn’t that kind of be under false pretenses? “Hey, you like Mea-CurrentVersion, and that’s great! But she’s on her way out, as soon as you agree to let her be Mea-FutureVersion!”

It also holds me hostage to what they will allow.

Which has actually been a problem for me: I have felt so trapped by other people’s expectations / wishes for who I was allowed to be with them, that I felt like I was being strangled.

I’ve ended my relationships with all of those people. But it took years and years to figure out that that was what was bothering me.

There’s not one person in my family of origin that I could (even imagine) say/ing to them, face to face: “I don’t know what my gender is. I’ve never ‘known’ what my gender is. Why do I have to pick just one? Why do I have to choose at all? I’m Mea. If that’s sufficient for me, it needs to be for you too.

“We can explore the possibilities together. Or we can break up. Because I am this person, and only I get to decide who this person is.”

CONSENT isn’t quite the right concept, although it’s close. Havi would call it SOVEREIGNTY, which I don’t quite like either because of the embedded rank/status aspects of the word itself. Only ‘kings’ and ‘queens’ get to choose who they are? (Also, what label for a ‘ruler’ with no gender?) Also, I don’t want to rule anyone. This isn’t about other people at all.

But many words really are about other people, about relationships. They’re not designed for you to talk about just you.

I guess maybe lots of other people don’t have a “just me” to talk about.

I want other people to be as fascinating to me as I am to myself, but, in a lot of cases, other people are orders of magnitude less interesting. Also, they’re un-self-aware. Also, they’re (broadly) predictable. They don’t surprise themselves, and they rarely surprise-me-in-a-Good-Way.

= = =

I’ve been in lots of social situations (job, volunteering, AROHO) where people are supposed to identify themselves or something significant about themselves, and they use words like:

Wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, friend of X.

If we could do a list, and we proceeded down through… 50-100 items, I might arrive at those places. I guess.

It’s not just that I don’t get along with my family of origin — even when I was little, I wouldn’t have thought those words were about me.

I am an individual.

Or, that thing I keep reading about social networks, where they say you’re the average of the 5 (human being) people you spend the most time with.

I don’t think I spend time with 5 human beings. But even if I did, that’s not what you’d need to know about me.

The HB person I spend the most time with is Spouse, and we’re broadly similar.

A list* of what you’d need to know about me might be: “trees, rivers, rocks, flowers, bumblebees, slime molds, fungi, frogs, salamanders, mountains, clouds, stars. Books. Art. Ideas. Photography. Walking, Dancing, Dreaming, Inventing, Imagining. Encounters with the numinous.” For Spouse, his list would begin with “Photography”, and… I’m not actually sure what else would be on it.

*It’s actually a gestalt, but (written) language requires linearity.

Spouse and I are certainly each other’s favorite and most important HB persons. But that’s not part of our identity.

I can’t even figure out how that could work.

Although if most other people are actually like that {~ the average of the 5 HB people they spend the most time with}… that explains a lot about why I don’t understand most other people.

(Also, why I find a lot of people… really boring.)

= = =

I need to be learning… pretty much, constantly. That’s why I read as much as I do, spend time thinking as much as I do. That’s why I can’t (and don’t really want to) break my Twitter habit. That’s why I might start / try to start a conversation with anyone interesting I run across.

If you’re more or less the same person you’ve been for the past 5 years or 17 years or 41 years or your whole life — if you’ve just gotten older but you haven’t learned anything much — spending time with you is going to hurt my brain. And maybe break my heart.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

= = =

It’s taken me years to realize that… my friends need to be actively creative in their lives. Because creative people are always learning how to create, by creating. Creative people are comfortable with failures and setbacks, confusion and realizing you’re stuck — they’re essential parts of the process, but then you do something about them. It doesn’t matter so much if what you do works; it matters that you keep trying stuff. Trying stuff = > learning = > growing as a person.

= = =

I don’t call myself “Garrabing” anymore, since that was part of being “Laiima”, but maybe I should return to it, because “Garrabing” meant ‘trying (clothes) on’.

“Nonbinary”, “nonbinary (transgender)”, “agender”, whatever, they’re garments that I’m not certain yet if they suit me. I have to walk around in them, dance in them, sit, lie down, drive, climb trees. What do they allow me to do? Do I feel “more me” when I have them on? Do they inspire me with possibilities?

Do they help me find new directions to explore?

Do they feel good on?

Are they fun?

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