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22 July 2012 @ 01:39 am
I’ll just write this in a Word document since Livejournal looks too intimidating at the moment. This is some of my brainspace, my past, my present, and my future. And some of the reasons I'm a bit down.

I’m back home—one of them, the family home, in Massachusetts. The trip back was gloriously uneventful and I wasn’t too cranky despite my lack of sleep (was up editing a story and had to wake up early to leave). I enjoy travelling immensely, especially when it means I have to simply sit for hours at a time; it provides ample time to “sits and thinks” (as my Da says), listen to music (always), and read/write (sometimes). (The quote from Da is an old quote: “Sometimes I sits and thinks. Mostly I just sits.” A Zen meditation quote he wrote in his quote book as a boy; his mother found it and wrote something along the lines of “Time is precious; do not waste it” beneath. I loved reading it a few years ago, after he had mentioned it, and now remembering it makes me happy since it’s a memory of Nana I have been able to touch, even though she’s now in care and seems to be readying herself for departure from this world. It also called out the difference between my father’s slow, this-too-shall-pass, go-with-the-flow-and-direct-some-streams outlook against my grandmother’s more active, domestic, don’t-waste-time living.)

We even stopped in Providence on the way back, so Mum and Da could check out my new house. Except for the stairs (steep and narrow, seemingly out of code in America but something I’m used to from England) they loved it and the people they met. I’m sure it’s different for them to be seeing me move into a house before they saw it and before meeting the others of the household (which at least they’d done in England)—but it’s been a long time since bringing friends home was a common occurrence, and so there are a great number of my friends they haven’t met. It’s sad, actually; I love for my parents to meet my friends and for my friends to meet my parents. It’s just not as much of a “thing” now, especially when we’re all in Providence and my family home is out of the way.

I can tell I’m in a rambly place. I think it’s the travel-mind; it’s a very thinky mode to be in (I have been known to call it “airplane mode” but this was car travel).

I’m sitting here listening to older music (my Simon & Garfunkel station I saw when I went to Pandora; Cat Stevens put me at ease); usually I listen to female musicians (my last station was Carole King, I see) but I was in the mood for something else. (Oh—Peter, Paul & Mary! I still can’t believe I was up on stage with Peter. And of course it’s “Leaving On a Jet Plane”—but I’m not going anywhere, not for a while.)

I’m feeling a bit down, which is normal enough after a vacation and travel, I suppose. The week was pleasant enough, although it was a bit too social for me; I didn’t feel I had any space that was ‘me’ space. I was sharing a room with M, who is two years younger than I am but can seem young and is ultimately very different from me, and every day of the vacation except for the last we had someone else in our room. I slept on a little mattress that actually made up a “couch” in the basement—if a thin mattress stacked on a wooden block can be called a couch (we left the wood box downstairs, and it was stacked on another to make a beer-pong table for the boys). Three people to the little room felt a bit much; the last time I was in that situation I was in love with one of the other women, and so that kept me a bit more amenable, I think. (; The basement was supposed to be for “the kids” but of course was taken over by “the boys” with a big projector screen for video games. I spent a lot of time in the living room, where people were always bustling about and where M always turned on the television only to flip channels constantly and mostly ignore it (which successfully distracted me from writing, all the while I never actually wished to watch anything—like Spongebob).

I remember saying to M, “I wonder what it will be like when we have more trustworthy incomes and partners or platonic-life-partners to bring down and to rent the extra bedrooms with. I think I’ll like that.” It reminded me of the summers I’d spent wishing some lovely gay young lady would rescue my teenage nocturnal self from these sun people who didn’t ‘get’ me. Usually I’d daydream of rescuing her, like the silly little baby-butch-dyke I was—but I understand it, honestly, because I was handicapped and didn’t feel capable of even saving myself from most situations, and feeling helpless bothered me, so I bolstered myself in my head by saving myself and others, especially the romantic interest of my imaginings. I’m not sure why she was so frequently named Anna in my head.

Now I don’t tend to think about it. My imaginings (and I always have them) are seldom ‘saving the princess’ and I’m content without a partner.

But anyway, I also realised (or remembered) that in a year it’ll mark the 10-year anniversary of my coming out.

I remember how I used to talk about not being too interested in dating and how adults would tell me, “You’ll find someone in college.” And while I respected their opinion, and hoped that a little too, I didn’t agree. I don’t have that “oh look I was right!” feeling since I’m not bothered either way and that makes it sound as though I chose not to get involved to spite their predictions, but I am a little amused that cynical little me was right: college wasn’t my time, at least not for that. College was my time for hard study and some life-learning, but not of that sort. I don’t mind; it was all worth learning and I had a good time of it in the end—plus, the hard studying didn’t go to waste.

So then I thought of sex: how I’m not bothered to not be having any, and how I may be a virgin but my mind is not virginal. I read Karin Kallmaker’s first lesbian romance novel (lesbian romance novels of any quality, one of my vices) over the week and was again reminded of the times I read through any lesbian material I could. (Mind, I’ll still read through it now, and I still go through my phases, but I don’t seek them out constantly anymore.)

I thought about how I could enter a sexual period now, if I wanted, even with my unconventional body and unconventional brain/ideas. In uni a girl on my bed (she needed a place to stay the night) asked, “Do you want to have sex?” I thanked her for her direct invitation and smiled, but had to say, “No, thank you: it’s the last night of term and I have these two assignments to do for tomorrow. I’ll already be up all night.” She laughed and said, “Awwr, really? I have toys!” I laughed back and shook my head, saying I had to get back to my presentation on the Scots Pine and the Shoveler Duck, but that she was welcome to do whatever she wanted—my room was hers for the night. Two years later, when an attractive young woman put her hands on my hips and mentioned “loving that backside of mine” in a skirt, I smiled and was kind as I walked everyone out of my house, but I didn’t invite her or the other young woman I was interested in to stay—despite that we three might have had a time of it—because I had some serious revision to do on a difficult subject. That was my university experience.

It’s not something I regret. They make for funny stories, too, that make my friends go “Oh KIWI, that is so you! You have the priorities of Hermione Granger!” or some-such, and it makes me laugh because I did; school was my priority.

Then I thought of the time I spent at General Assembly, how there were these young women I thought were just way too attractive and cool to associate with me…but when one caught me crying (of course, the one I’d had my eye on since the beginning) she came over and asked if I was alright. I was speechless with tears (truly, couldn’t talk) but I gurgled out an explanation that I wasn’t too sad and I’d be fine. I met up with her and the others later, when I could talk, and thanked them for their concern; we started to hang out and, shock, I was cool enough to hang out with this group of queer ladies. They were all attractive and most were available in some way, and I could have approached any of them in a more sexual way, but I didn’t. More regrets I don’t have. I realised it was possible, it was something I could do, but that I didn’t have the urge—and now the urge (and its absence) is something I can recognise.

Back in my youth I realised that kissing held no attraction for me when I didn’t have an interest in doing it before it started; I could only assume the same went for other activities. I realised that dating didn’t interest me unless the person interested me first—the ‘date to get to know’ deal didn’t work for me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do these things until I felt the urge, because otherwise I just felt yucky. The only problem was that I didn’t know that the ‘urge’ felt like, so sometimes I thought I had it, and I’d try…and I hadn’t had it, so I felt yucky and guilty and ‘wrong’ instead. But at 21 I fell in love with the woman I’d had a crush on at 16, and I went, “OH! Okay. I get it now.” My hope is that I don’t need the world-shifting, earth-spinning feelings of love to get the urge to just kiss or date since it would be inconvenient…but so far I haven’t had the urge again, and so I have done nothing more. I’m okay with that. Very okay.

So I’m soon to hit the 10-year anniversary of my ‘early bloomer’ coming out and entering into my ‘late bloomer’ sexuality. I’m good with it. I don’t have any doubts about how gay I am, even if others do. I don’t feel lonely; I’m very happy single. My priority in life is friendship and platonic bonding—I have both, stronger than I ever imagined, and I am thriving with it. I do sometimes worry that I won’t be wanted because I am a ten-year lesbian with no personal experience, but I try to remind myself that my mind isn’t virginal, I’ve been educating myself (since research has always been a priority of mine), and I’m a quick study when I throw myself into learning something. And I’m sure I will when the time comes, though I am not impatiently waiting for it.

It’s also been pretty much a year since I met all these fandom friends in 3D and left England and went off to a blissful small-town New England camp to fall in love. Hectic times. I miss England and my friends dreadfully; they’re frequently on my mind. I need to push myself into getting good with Skype or other ways of keeping in touch. My mind still drifts back to Reading and my how much I loved that place, though, and there’s not much I can do about that; it’s another form of home-sickness, since I made it my home. I can’t just take that away.

Additionally, it’s time to throw myself into settling into this new life. Serious job-search and job-application time. That frightens me to no end. I want to feel that I am a useful person to hire, and that I can find some kind of employment that does not make me miserable. It needn’t make me happy, particularly, but some sort of neutrality is the minimum for what I’m looking for. The pity is that I’m really excellent with office jobs—I can literally type with my eyes closed—and it’d be a great, easy job for me, yet I’d go crazy.

This is not something I talk about, but every time I think about jobs I start tearing up because I think of my dream jobs and how I can’t do them. Back when I was 14, I chose natural resources and ecology because I wanted to go out in the world and help out: monitor big-cat species, help captive breeding programmes and release, survey tree or inspect species, something like that. Field biology, ecology, and conservation—with some white-lab-coat science as well. Those don’t work with my hip, with my chronic pain. There are sort of half-and-half jobs I might be able to find, but more often than not I’m afraid they’d be a reminder of what I can’t do. Even environmental education jobs tend to require stomping out in all kinds of weather, and goodness knows my body is not always up for it even when my brain is. It makes me sad. I didn’t talk about it at all until Ferry Beach, when I went up and talked during the Sunday service.

My friends talk about the jobs they’re applying for or have, and so many require walking around and carrying things and standing for long periods of time; I swear I shrink when they talk about them. They say, “Oh, Kiwi, you could apply too!”

All of it just reminds me of my chronic pain, how I’m disabled but not disabled enough to really be down with the government or to have it be an asset to a company in any way, and I shrivel up. In my head I’m still donning khaki clothes and heading out with a wild herd of horses or watching the behaviours of nocturnal arboreal cats or testing soil for rain forest beetles. In my head I’m a regular Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank and it’s what I trained for—but it’s not what I’m going to be. It’s not what I can be.

And I’m biding my time until I get that “calling” to teach, because I can feel it there, sleeping until I feel more confident and more sturdy in life, ready to move on from the roles of “just-past-peer mentor” and “role-model” and “advisor” into the role of “teacher” (which would incorporate the rest with one step more). Even if it isn’t in front of a class full of high-school teens, I know teaching will come at me in some way.

I think the final thing that is getting me down, which enters into all of these other things, is my self-esteem. And how it’s so fickle. I had this short time of confidence a while back—oh, it was glorious. Now I’m back to feeling all this self-doubt and self-questioning, in life and in my interpersonal relationships. I hate wondering every moment if I’m annoying people, if I’m stupid or not sophisticated enough, if people will get sick of me because I’m too young and don’t understand some references, if I don’t write my thoughts well enough and don’t express myself well, if I cross lines and hurt feelings, if I’m not someone worth liking or hiring or befriending, if I’m not someone worth keeping in one’s life.

I hate how sensitive about it all I still am. I’m getting a little better with criticism, critique, and little comments with real-life interactions; I have even gone so far as to state that I felt some condescension in the conversation and went on to talk it through to a happy end. Online, I still look for exclamation points or emoticons or little grins or jokes; I do it without thinking, and when I don’t see them, my brain reads it without emotion and my heart takes it unkindly. It isn’t fair to anyone at all and I can see how it guides my own form of communication. I am a virtual scaredy-cat.

I remember when I used to be a prickly porcupine, and yet I think even then it was just a failed attempt to hide this sensitive skin; I think all those thoughts and pains bounced around inside, unacknowledged, and had something to do with the day I cracked.

Sometimes I think about these short (-statured) women with big personalities, and how much I admire them. How I have the potential but I’m not there—and it’s okay, I’m 22, I have the time to grow; that is what these times are for. I wonder if my skin will feel stronger if I grow out to meet it, if I am snug up against it so these things that pain me unreasonably and unintentionally can bounce off instead, or at least not pierce too far inside. I want to grow into my skin. I suppose if there’s any impatience anywhere, it’s here. I want to be unafraid of the space I take up, of the sounds my voice can make, of my presence in my own shoes. It’s slow, itchy, painful, uncomfortable growth. I know that’s what these years are for, what aging does; I am young—no matter how much the word makes me cringe.

I feel small. I feel like a bonsai in the body of a redwood, and no one has told me that my roots are no longer clipped and constrained—that I have room to grow, and the room’s all mine, and I just have to nab those resources and grow. It’s intimidating and hard and I don’t always, or even most of the time, know how.

I want to be able to look in the mirror and say, “I’m Kiwi. I have inherent worth and dignity; it is not based on anyone else or anything that I do. My path is unique and unwinding from where I stand. I am worth the space I take up; I am worth the resources I consume; I am worth the attention I request; I am worth the attention I receive. This is the space I unapologetically take up and this is my strength. I deserve this space to be myself.”

I have a long way to go, and instead I feel so little, so ashamed of the space I take up that doesn’t feel like mine, so apologetic, so easy to step on. Perhaps it is why I perceive things as painful. Self-esteem and sensitivity are linked.

(Then things like “Peace Train” come on and I picture my memory of listening to it and dancing around in the rain, up along the hedges of an English street, and I feel content in the person that I am. I start thinking that when there is no concern of others—when I am an island—I am content with that island, and the space it takes up. Then I am reminded that I am making progress; my roots are spreading, however slowly.)

Some lyrics that caught my ears as I wrote:

"I was twenty-one when I wrote this song
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long
Time hurries on"
Seekcoldthermistor on July 22nd, 2012 08:44 am (UTC)
Am posting a comment here to say I'll read this in a bit, but more important--SIMON AND GARFUNKEL! That caught my eye too! :D
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow || Mug.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
Awwr teehee, glad it caught your eye! :D I don't listen to them nearly enough.
Seekcoldthermistor on July 22nd, 2012 08:47 am (UTC)
Just saying... *hugs* I know what it's like to want to do things you're never really going to be able to do. Wanted to be a police officer when I was a kid a lot, but my back and my eyesight means that's never going to be possible. For what it's worth though, you're really strong, mate :/ And...I think I know what you mean. The feeling you're getting at.

Still, we're muddling along, aye? And it's gonna be ok one day...I think?
Kiwi Crocus: Text || Shit could be worse.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
*Hugs back.* Yeah, it stinks to know one can't complete a dream--at least in the way the dream was dreamt (I'm still hoping I can find some ways to get involved, on a shorter time-scale than an actual career). I sort of wish I had known earlier on that I wouldn't be able to do all this--perhaps at 14, instead of realising after 17 and having it be confirmed in college. It's...well, it's heart-breaking, really, and I don't admit to that much.

Thank you, too. I think you're really strong as well--putting up with all that uni bullshit in just trying to get where you wanted. You put up with so much.

We're definitely muddling along, and yes, we're gonna be okay one day. *Another hug.*
Seekcoldthermistor on July 25th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
This is where you're frankly quite inspiring sometimes, though. You're not letting it stop you, and you're still trying to find some ways to make it possible? :) I hope you really get that way, Kiwi (s'at ok?) I think you really deserve a chance at your dream.
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow || Ocean.cranky__crocus on August 1st, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
I wish I didn't let it stop me! I fear I've been letting it stop me lately; it makes me feel crummy. But thank you. (: I really hope I find a way to make those dreams possible in whatever manner, too.

Kiwi is completely okay! I go by that name everywhere, IRL and on the 'net. :D

Thank you. ♥ You deserve a real chance at your dreams, too, without a doubt.
minervas_eule: Botticelli Minervaminervas_eule on July 22nd, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Oh Kiwi, I so wish I could say or do something helpful, but how and what....
One thing is certain: you have an amazing unique gift of being able to express yourself, no matter how complex and difficult the subject, you find words for it.... the bonsai in the redwood-picture *wow*... that must be good for something...!
Kiwi Crocus: Animal || White horse head.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Minnie (I hope you don't mind the nickname; people in my life tend to get them eventually). You help so much by reading and responding with your big open heart. I so value your friendship. ♥

And thank you, too, for your kind words; I will try to let them into my own heart where they will be remembered longer! I work hard at expressing myself in an understandable and descriptive way, so to hear that it is working...that is very comforting.

*Hugs back.* You're the greatest!
CaroRulescarorules on July 23rd, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I think, on the job front, you need to be patient with yourself the way you are being patient with yourself to find someone special. Everything will come to you in due time, I am sure of it.
Kiwi Crocus: Women || Rocking oceanside.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
*Grins.* Yes, I think you're very right on the career front--as in, being patient and having faith that the right career will come along--but before then, I do need to find a job. I only have so much money and at this point I am paying rent and the like, so when I'm out I'm out, and I'll need to replenish!

(So I do make the distinction between 'career' and 'job'. Ultimately I would like my 'career' to be something that makes me happy much of the time and, even when it doesn't, still feels fulfilling. A job, for me, is a means to an end--the end of getting money--but I also want to make sure it doesn't deflate me by making me miserable. If it just keeps me going along in a neutral place so that I can go home and make myself actually happy, that's fine.)
CaroRulescarorules on July 24th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
This is def all good points.

You need a job to survive and hopefully this job won't make you unhappy and in the meantime you can look for a career path you want.

I have faith you'll figure it out!
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Pink tree contrast.cranky__crocus on July 24th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, I'm hoping that's how it works out.

Many of the people I know who are happiest in their careers found them by following their interests (activism or whatever else), meeting the right people, and being there in the right time (those people they met knowing of an available position). So I'm hoping that once I have a job and continue working with the people I enjoy outside of that, and for the issues I love (environmentalism, sexual education, LGBTQQIAPPS stuff, UUism, humanitarian rights, etc) that things can fall into place through time.

And I do have a feeling I'll end up teaching in some capacity within the next decade or two. :P
CaroRulescarorules on July 25th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
Ths is def right, a lot of time, the best way to further your career or find opportunities is through contacts. I strongly encourage you to keep active in fields that interest you and something will most likely come out of it ;)