Tag Archives: pretentious

Cheatingly over the line for NaBloPoMo

So yeah, I finally made it over the line of my modified slightly cheaty NaBloPoMo, I was aiming for 30 posts in 30 days, which I did … but kiiiinda only by breaking up my holiday memories :)

But still, did it!  Now to work out if I can keep it up and get over my worries about writing in front of people and writing stuff that may be disagreed with or is kind of drafts – maybe I need a “drafts” tag :)

Days of almost femme

So today I was very nearly fabulous … I sort of had a “oooh I should put a skirt on and some nice boots and swish” but basically I almost managed it then just couldn’t quite get things working.  I’ve got about 2 good skirts that go with everything, one I’d just thrown in the wash, the other I didn’t want to risk getting nuked by weather.  My two awesome patchwork skirts are a bit tight and I’m trying to make the elastic a bit less nuclear so I sort of had a last sort of older velvetty option and was like … nah, a bit too scruffy and not right for the office.

Almost, one day I’ll get better at this whole lark, I then sort of phased through thinking about trousers and boots and things and basically yeah, I need to get some comfy more knee or calf length things to wear with exciting and warm leggings and socks.  Working on it.

Still better I think to have thought about it and bailed calmly to my backup plan outfit than flap about it.  However reading this back I also feel like its being written by a 15 year old.  Oh well :)

On the upside wrote something supportive to a trans person of indeterminate gender and cheered their day up.  So yay!

Winter, Trees, and Rain

Feels like winter is really arriving, and on today of all days it kind of makes sense for personal symbolic reasons, and I think it contributed to  an ongoing resurgence in my reconnection to my … magical?  Pagan?  current, whatever it is.  I ate at my desk while working on a problem which struck just as I was about to go for my normal lunch and socialising, which created a window of time afterwards with no people, no time for eating needed, and I was nudged to go for a walk.

It was one of those odd little nudges and prompts and “maybe this?” sort of things that you get used too as an occultist I think, the sorts of sense for going and doing a thing and seeing what happens and what connections arise.  As it was I went briefly up to past the chap centre to a patch of woods upon a hill, and I stood upon the grass and saw autumn leaves falling almost like snow, in gently drifting patterns, and I looked out across town at all the green and living life, and felt the clouds and sky overhead and earth below.

On the way back to the office the clouds gathered overhead, dark and heavy, and the temperature dropped, and it really felt like it was going to snow.  In fact I think its just really icey cold rain coming down outside the building now.  Although the sun has come through it and created a double rainbow between me and Clougha Pike, which was glorious to see, although thats faded and we’re back to blue sky patches on one side of the building and clouds concealing the hills on the other.

But yes, interesting what a change of timing to food and amount of people will do for the day and ones mood.

Framing your day

I’m pretty sure I’ve written this exact same post before but eh, worth another go :)  So yeah sometimes I like playing about with how I frame my day which can make things more fun and change motivation towards other tasks.  I find it best to start early on, preferably soon after waking and before getting bogged down into other things, when the flavour of the day is still malleable.

One of the old ones I like to use is about framing the day as an adventure – to make everything have that edge of questing, to sort of make it feel like holiday.  So you get up, usually a little earlier than normal, you make sure to pack food, you concentrate on the travelling, and the things you may see, or work out maybe a slight deviation from the normal routine in the middle of the day, and hence you change the flavour of the day to be more about adventuring or questing, trying to see something new in the everyday

The other I’ve used quite a bit at the minute often involves my commute, which usually comes over the top of a hill high up over Lancaster, so I can look down across the town, across the bay, across the countryside out to the sea.  From there I can reconnect with the whole scale of the town, again searching to connect and make things less than routine and dull, to earth myself into the idea that here I am, working at a centre of learning and education the likes of which there isn’t for miles around, working to help scholars do cutting edge research.  All the while embedded in the glorious countryside of the bay, with its ancient hills overlooking at the edge of the lakes, with the roofs of the houses making the whole thing feel like a Ghibli film, with all the historic links of Lancaster – the commute is sometimes within sight of the Castle (and the whole area is a strange Dutchy of the Queen and strangely linked to the crown), built on a fort from Roman times, the ancient priory is there, the misty hills are all kinds of magical, yet at the same time there are people going about their day to day lives almost oblivious to all this strangeness.

So yeah, framing on commutes, it can make a difference.  Holding onto it in the office is something else however.

Visability and Graduations

As several of you know I get to go sit on the stage and wear a silly hat for other peoples graduations, and these are graduations I really quite like for various reasons.  I was never much of a fan of my own graduations, because during the first one I was just all bleh for public appearances in general for reasons that made no sense to me at that time, during the second I knew I was trans and was just filled with dislike for inhabiting my body or my social role at that point, however when you’re on the stage its quite fun as you’re not the centre of attention so much its not about focusing on you, also I’m way more comfortable in myself than I used to be I think, at least in some ways.

Interestingly I quite like going to graduations because it helps remind me why I’m where I am, and why I do what I do.  A lot of the time working for the Uni its easy to lose sight of the awesome good work we do, we educate students in all kinds of things, we do kick ass research, we improve the state of human knowledge at least in some ways – however in the day to day grind of projects and support its easy to get lost from this and instead just throw up your hands at all the politics that floods the place.  So graduations are nice for in some ways fulfilling the promise of the establishment, a time we can come together across departments and do our act as formal academics (processing in is nice, because everyone does their best formal and proper thing, we present a professional front, also you never know who you’ll be lined up next to so a nice point for a chat with new people in the queue) and present a united front to celebrate the achievements of the students.

Also it’s a more personal thing, in that not only does it give an institutional/group celebration but I tend to mostly come and sit on the stage for students I know through various societies, so its also a personal thing of celebrating the achievements of friends and giving them a grand sending off as yup – you are now officially recognised as more awesome in some specific manner, its nice to sit on the stage and try not to grin too much to be improper while applauding them :)

The final point, which is kind of what spurred me on to post this (being as I’ve just come back from watching the Manchester Pride Parade at the weekend) is the visibility aspect of it.  Whenever I go to graduations I make sure to flag with at least a small rainbow pin, if not a trans one as well, and also while I tend to blend into crowds in direct or focused interactions I get read as trans pretty easily – and this is one of those cases where I don’t mind.  By being there, being in a group of academics and walking formally with them as a colleague and academic doctor and making myself obviously visible I aim to get some subtle exposure – to help say to people that hey it’s okay to be trans or queer, I’m here, looking respectable and not hiding.  And hopefully I’m helping out closeted students, and I’m helping normalise various minorities as a thing that exists for visiting friends and family who are in the hall, and those who watch the remote streams or for times I’m caught in pictures (amusingly I was grabbed for pics out of the line with some students this year, I’m not sure what I was doing beyond featuring as an academic to pose with, I have no idea how they were even reading me, and I don’t really mind).

While it’s true this could be said to be in some ways being over obvious with my sinister dark agenda (okay I’m maybe being snarky), or “rubbing their faces in it” I like to think I’m striking a balance between being too obvious (on a day that’s about the students), and being too hidden.  All I’m doing is wearing a small rainbow badge in my outfit and just existing and being there which is the part I think is important, physically being there and in front of people and being comfortable – and I can do this because the University is an accepting place, I know that 99% of the staff and students wouldn’t give me shit, so based on the work of others (standing on the shoulders of giants) I can help continue that work by being there, by normalising things, by being visible and wearing small subtle symbols to help make it okay for others to come out and be themselves.

Revelatory?

There’s a project afoot to record the stories of my University as a place a community, and one of the parts is filming people holding up single words to describe the place, I was talking to Lee online about this and saying:

How do I sum up the place I came with no real clue why I was here, that’s given me an education and a job, friends, a house, where I’ve gone from asexual to heterosexual to bisexual to homosexual to bisexual queer, from aromantic to poly, from experiencing self as male to experiencing self as female, transitioning, falling in love with people, failed relationships, taking up new hobbies, dropping old ones, walking about in the early hours, learning magic, becoming a kind of pagan, running talks, reading books, the fog and mist and rain straight from the sea and lakes and mountains in the distance :)

And his suggestion was just “Revelatory” which I think kind of fits.  It’s not so much the University itself – as in many ways upper management are kind of lizard people at times and feel disconnected, but its the community that it fosters on its campus and in town, the friendly people I’ve basically grown up with (I think I avoided doing a lot of growing up pre-Uni, or at least it feels that way now) and who have been there for me and let me be there for them in adventurous too numerous and surreal to list them all.

Sure I may not live here forever, but I’ve really rather enjoyed a lot of the time I have lived here, so thanks to everyone who’s done that with me.

Liber 496: A secular banishing and eucharistic sacrament of breakfast

 

Liber 496
A secular banishing and eucharistic sacrament of breakfast
Designed for daily use
Version 1.2

“forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.” — Aleister Crowley, Liber XV : The Gnostic Mass

This is a short piece designed as a secular method to enhance breathing, posture, health, mood and memory. Why should those pesky occultists get all the fun! Its broken into this short summary, followed by a longer and more detailed commentary.

1. Prepare the room: tidy up, prepare a small table, a music player and a cushion/chair.
2. Prepare yourself: Get 8 hours sleep, wake up.
3. Cleanse yourself: Have a shower or bath.
4. Prepare breakfast: Cool water or juice, fruit, yogurt, tea. that kind of thing.
5. Warm up: neck rolls, stretching. Warm up the back, neck, limbs
5.1-5.6 Warm up your lungs and breathing, intone the vowels, each one a full exhalation I-E-A-O-U-O-A-E-I vibrating them to give the feeling of resonating from your head to the base of your spine and back up again (head, throat, chest, abdomen, perineum = I,E,A,O,U) it may be easier to do it in reverse instead (UOAEIEAOU) starting with the low sound.
6. Stretches: Walk in a gentle circle to each wall of the room. At each wall pause and take a breath. Inhale then exhale as you touch your toes. Inhale then exhale as you stretch upward and out, arms above your head to form a Y.
7. Sitting: Return to the centre, sit on your cushion/chair and make sure your spine is straight.
8. Breathing:
8.1 Slow breathing. 4 second chunks for breath in, hold, breath out
8.2 Mindfulness and breath counting (see commentary)
8.3 Fast breathing. Slightly forceful out breath, pumping the lungs with the abdominal muscles.
9. Enjoy breakfast: slowly, mindfully, quietly. Just eating.
10. Appreciate Beauty: relax and recline, listen to music, look out the window, look at a sleeping SO, contemplate the joy of the moon landings or look at great portraits.

Then go out and face the day, stop day dreaming and get stuff done.

Detailed commentary and references, please read if interested