Future

It seems like the last semester, plus focusing on caring for myself and others, has really taken the momentum out of my beading. That’s not to mention the ongoing job search, which I am engaging with very poorly, even if it is just for research purposes.

I’m not sure how far to go into the full story: it isn’t all mine to tell. I’ve been attempting to make notes on what I’ve been feeling and what has been going on in my paper journal, but…maybe I was a bit too concise? There is a lot that has been happening, and I feel like I’ve fairly efficiently covered it. Despite that, I still want to write. I’m not sure whether this has to do with more needing to come out, or just my bent towards writing, period, as a coping mechanism.

I suppose it makes sense if it is true that I communicate more primarily and efficiently through writing, than I do through speech. The past week in particular, however — that has not been a normal chain of events. But neither has it been normal, since the beginning of the year.

Come to think of it, the past two years haven’t been normal.


Beaded Circlet

In any case…I have a lot I can do, besides work on the jewelry. Because my momentum basically petered out while working on the circlet…(for reasons I don’t yet fully understand)…well, let me go into what I do understand about why I stopped working on it.

  1. I screwed it up about halfway through by cutting the wrong lengths of cords, and didn’t realize that fact until I was substantially invested in knotting it together.
  2. I don’t know what I’m going to do for the closure, and as I think I’ve said (though maybe not here), beginnings and endings are the most difficult parts.
  3. The closure will be at the side of the head now, thus, visible.
  4. The circlet has to be able to rest on the head without slipping down, meaning the sizing either has to be exact, or I have to put in a center line…which I’m not sure how to work into the design, if it is an afterthought (as it is, now).
  5. Because the sizing has to be exact, I may have to get creative in the last few repeats and make them (“not-repeats,” but) unique sequences.
  6. I purchased extra cords and beads to be able to make a copy; however, I’m not precisely certain of which shade of yellow cord I’m actually using. It’s a toss-up between, “Aurum,” and, “Marigold.” Marigold is slightly oranger and less lustrous; Aurum is slightly greener and lighter in value (that is, if both colors were in greyscale, Aurum would be slightly lighter grey than Marigold…though no, I haven’t verified this yet). The difference can’t really be told unless viewed in sunlight…I’m thinking I’m using Marigold and not Aurum (in contrast to what I said before), but…I really can’t tell at night/under artificial light, and it’s nighttime, now.

I haven’t really been working on constructing anything since becoming discouraged on this. It’s very obvious to me that what I make is of salable quality (once I’ve developed the pattern, beginnings, and closures)…but I’m reluctant to sell. I could make much better money, much more efficiently, and maybe do the world much more good, by putting my energy into a career. Like, the career I’ve spent the last 12 years building up, but have not substantially gained from, yet.


Survival Skills

The fact is, however, that the reason to have a career path is to comfortably survive, not to enjoy myself. I’m feeling kind of bad about having put as much energy as I have, into something devoted to enjoyment. Of course, I didn’t realize it was about enjoyment, until I understood that running a Business is not about pleasure: it’s about making money. A hobby is about pleasure. And how much time and energy and money have I sunk into this, “hobby?” I’m not a person who is about to get married and have someone else supporting me for the rest of my life; I have to get a job and be able to support myself, hopefully before I outlive my main support system.

Of course, last semester was attempted in the hope of eventual monetary gain — and I guess it’s better to learn that this is not a great Business plan the easy way (by taking a semester to work and think it out) rather than the hard way (by investing in the practice, setting up a business, and taking the risk of loss…which will have me doing far less of what I want to do than I expected, and involve far more things that I’d have to do that I don’t want to do, and which are unexpected). So I suppose I really shouldn’t beat myself up about having taken the classes in the first place, although the major thing I learned is that I am capable of much higher-level work.

I might not have known this, but one of the things about online learning is that — if you see the work of others — you may also get an idea of what scholastic level everyone else in the class, is at. At the least, I do Master’s level work, and I know this, now. Even if when I’m in the Master’s program there are people who are above my level of competence, I still fall into the range where I can succeed at the work.

I’ve also been around long enough to know that there are some Professors who aren’t necessarily great, in areas I excel at (which is how I can tell; they are likely good in other areas which I don’t excel at)…which, if nothing else, makes becoming a Professor a possibly realistic goal.

The question is, then, not whether I can do it, but, do I want to do it? That’s harder to tell, at least so without experience. And for myself as a relatively not-social person, it’s highly likely that I wouldn’t want to direct a section of a class as a Teacher’s Assistant.

Of course, the route I’m on right now is not quite to become a Gender Studies Professor, but to work in the American Library system in some way which does not cause me to have to constantly deal with the public. Dealing with people I know can even be taxing; so you can tell how dealing with the public would be for me. These positions do exist, but it’s likely that I’ll need to look at working with both Academic Libraries, and with those who sell products to libraries, in order to find these slots. That’s the mission I was given by my Career Counselor, last time we met.

I’ve not done well on following through with this…largely because at the time I got the assignment, I was finishing up last semester and heading into Finals. You can see from my records here that I didn’t even get all of my Xmas projects done on time, because Finals fell so close to the holidays.

Meeting the Career Counselor only happened shortly before I was able to apply for classes, so I was scrambling over that. Then there were the holidays; then this entire January thing where I’ve realized I will need to launch and make a life of my own, which has been fairly surreal. At the very least, I’ll need to be preparing for launch.

Of course, a lot of this is age-related, but along with age come health concerns…not only mine, but those of others around me. There’s the fact that I need to be able to take care of myself, and it’s easier to learn when I don’t have to do it, then it will be once I have to know how to do it.

Along these lines, I’ve been cooking and preparing food a lot more, in my own interest and in my family’s. There is a history to this: the reason why my dad learned to cook is that his dad couldn’t; and after a while, his mom had to work. My dad grew up cooking for the rest of his siblings. So long as I’m focused on self-care, which will be at the least, over the next semester — it makes sense for me to learn how to feed myself. I’m not doing it out of a sense of trying to conform to some idea of womanhood. I’m doing it so that I won’t be dependent on someone else for every meal of every day, the rest of my life. It’s a self-sufficiency thing, as well as a health thing. At this point, I’m trying to avoid becoming pre-diabetic.

I was actually talking with M about this, the other day: family dynamics seem to be changing. People are getting married later or not at all; divorcing; not necessarily having kids. A man can’t necessarily depend on being fed by his wife; a woman can’t necessarily depend on a man providing for her. Neither can a person necessarily depend on children supporting them in their old age. This was the model that my teacher promoted in one of my last classes (the one I felt alienated within), and it’s changing. If I want not to have to marry, I’m going to have to learn how to take on at least parts of both roles, for myself. That is, I’m going to have to be my own breadwinner, be able to care for myself and my home, and plan for my retirement, myself.


Lone Bachelor/et/te?

In all the years I spent in College and University, no one really asked me to envision what I wanted life after graduation to be like. That is, the rest of my life. I feel like I’ve been raised as though I would be able to find someone else to partner up with; like I would be able to do arts and crafts forever.

It’s not entirely like that, because when I was in high school I realized I had more of an affinity with girls than I was attracted to boys, and with the lack of attention most girls were paying to their education, I realized that I might be the person who would best be able to (i.e., maybe have to) earn money for a household. I might have to support not only myself, but also — very possibly — my partner. Because of this, I took school seriously. I wasn’t one of the people who was out to prove their heteronormativity by chasing boys; or having crushes on boys I didn’t know, and about whom I didn’t really care.

Let’s just say that the guys I favored tended to be at least two years older than myself, and gay.

Of course, I really at this point don’t even know if I still have a sexual orientation…but that gets into biology, and it’s one of the things I presently have reason to medically investigate. For the majority of my life, people have noticed the closeness of my friendships with feminine others, but I’m not sure that’s actually sexual. When you never want to experience pregnancy and don’t intend to raise children, the point of, “why sexuality?” can actually come up. I’ve still not really been able to answer that question. It seems like a lot of assumption of risk for…what?

I mean, I can see if I actually was tender to someone and if they were open to that, and we were together for years. But at this point, I’ve not really had a functional, valid relationship…that I’ve recognized as anything more than friendship, anyway. Usually, others have invented for themselves who they thought me to be and what I must want; which have not lined up with the person I actually am. When someone else’s definition of me overrides my own definition of me, that’s when they have to step off and change, or leave.

And yes, that still applies when I shut down because the person my partner is in love with, isn’t me; it’s their idea of me.

What I’m thinking of is similar to how I was with my first girl crush. She was way more than I assumed her to be. She could have absorbed the fact that I was crushing on her, because she had her own life and her own self. It was my fear of rejection, and my fear of my stigma spreading to her, which caused that to never have a chance of happening. A person’s gender doesn’t make a person weak.

Maybe I should say, just because she was a girl, that didn’t make her weak. I was the person who was scared; but I was also the person who was massively targeted by my peers.

At this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably not a transgender man. The person who showed me that any freedom in regard to gender was possible, fell into that category, but he was a rather spectacular person. It’s actually because of him and my aforementioned crushes (on gay dudes) that I don’t think I can call myself lesbian…although now that I think of it, barely anyone who calls themselves, “lesbian,” is, strictly, “lesbian.” That’s why, “Womens’ Groups,” exist, but even in that, there is inherent exclusion (of nonbinary people, along with men…and every other gender).

The thing that really has kept me out of Womens’ community is the fact that I’m not cisgender. I talk about my experiences in these groups, and no one can relate (or no one will admit to being able to relate). I haven’t really found, “my people,” anyplace except within gender-nonbinary community. I can seem to be a woman, so long as I keep my mouth shut, but when people get to know me, sometimes they just really…I don’t know what they’re thinking, and maybe it’s best not to guess. I have been the focus of at least one episode of butch hostility, however (…not that I asked the person what their problem was; rumor has it, they were high at the time). More, if you count the time before University.

Maybe I’m used to too much identity policing? It has been a while since I’ve been to an in-person group.

Would it be a dream to find a woman who loved, understood, and accepted me? At least it would have been, for a younger me. I question to what extent a cisgender woman would be able to see past my appearance to understand what’s beneath, however. There’s the reality of the situation and then the illusion of the situation…and most people get caught up in the illusion, transgender people included.

But yeah. Love. Honest, actual, healthy love, would be nice!


Recipes

I’m finding that the drive to create which I prior channeled into beadwork, is now being channeled into cooking. That’s probably a very positive thing, for me. I’ve been thinking that if I put the same kind of effort that I had put into my beadwork into something that could (in practicality) reward me more, I might have something to work with.

Cooking basically has an almost immediate reward, and a long-term health and independence reward, if I do it right. And it doesn’t feel that different from beading, actually; especially for me, having learned from patterns and books. We’ve even taken to calling patterns, “recipes,” here, and I’ve seen the term in use elsewhere online (not to mention the common thread of naming beads after food, photographing them in spoons, etc.).

Because my momentum has basically stalled on my beadwork, I’m finding it difficult to restart. Not difficult so much to purchase, but I feel guilt when I want to go back and try something new. You would think it would be the other way around…

At this point, I’m not sure whether to keep going with the beadwork and alter my course to doing what maybe I really want to do (like maybe a different pattern after I work out a couple more Bee earrings in differing color schemes that I’ve already picked out), or to really alter my course and do something else entirely…at least, until I can tell what benefit I was gaining from the beadwork. I know I do it to get my mind off of things. But sometimes, maybe, I need to stop avoiding life — even if life is, for the moment, unpleasant. Life is also temporary (is that merciful or melancholy?), and we only get so many possible moments with the people we love and care about.

We also only get so much time to find the people we will love, or who actually see our souls.

As M and D have reassured me, beads are cheap (most of the time)… Right now, I’m asking myself: is it that important to work with them? Of course, that’s…probably something that all artists go through.

Art usually isn’t necessary, unless the act of making it keeps one alive (even simply emotionally alive). In that case, its value goes beyond all monetary compensation. I do think I’m in a healthy enough place right now that maybe I don’t need to lean on it as heavily…but at the same time, there is the question of greed as versus scarcity, and how much a person actually needs, to do what they want to do.

Maybe one day I’ll write more about this…

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

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