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Christmas Time

Another year, another Christmas. This one was a quiet one, with little in the way of stress. We were supposed to have family around, but that never really happened, because they were very ill with the flu/virus thing that's going around.

I'm still waiting for things to happen regarding job stuff. Randomly, today, I had a visit from a medical professional regarding my ESA claim. You know, the one I had two years ago, recovering from the surgery. Two years too late... The whole thing makes me angry.
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Computer Game Writing

So, when I was younger, I really enjoyed computer games. Especially the game Civilisation 2, my first entry into the Civilisation franchise.

Of all the games Sid Meier wrote, my favourite is definitely Alpha Centauri, a game about the future colonisation of a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. It was something I enjoyed greatly not just because of it's nature (a 4X style turn-based strategy game), but more for the stories you could tell in it, the fascinating science in it and the amazing quotes and characters.

I've always wanted to write a computer game because of that. It's been one of the few things I wanted to do as a boy that I often feel a regret for not doing. Transitioning pushed that away into the yonder distance because I realised that, well, being more female precluded that.

I've come back to it now, mainly because I have time and mainly because I feel the need to accomplish something right now that isn't playing computer games. It's been weird to come back to a more male-orientated childhood dream of mine and, well, sometimes it's really useful and therapeutic to do it, especially when I realise that being female makes me so much better at the creative aspects of it, even if I'm worse on the coding side.

It's something I've never succeeded at. Firstly, the game I want to write is a space 4X game. These are hugely complicated. All the ones have been quite limited and I'd really like to write one that's more realistic and representative. I'd also really like to write one that has as much story telling potential as Alpha Centauri had.

The game will, I guess, at it's heart, be a softer and more feminine version of the usual 4X games, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
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Life at the moment

Life is proving a bit wobbly at the moment. I'm not completely sure about my mental health right now and it bugs me a bit. I think that probably most of it is me feeling a bit worthless after all the other stuff I've written about recently and I'm starting to take that out on myself by doing stuff that probably isn't probably good for me.

On the plus side, my sleeping pattern has deteriorated and then slipped through the night. I'm now waking up quite early and that means I have peaceful quiet time to sit and code. I'm finding that the coding is going quite well, though I still feel a lot of the time that I'm not very good at it.

I'm feeling a bit drained by everything. My emotions are still cycling from not being able to have children. Sometimes it's just purely that, sometimes I find a way to make peace with things and live with myself. It's weird. However, the peaceful periods don't tend to last very long.

I'm not entirely sure why, but it looks like two things are interfering. I'm not sure how big in and of themselves they are and whether they are major things in their own right, or whether they're parts of the same thing that makes me feel bad. I guess that's what this post is about.

So, the first one is remembering childhood stuff. This ties in with working at the school and working in general, not standing up for myself and other such things. Pre-surgery, I didn't have much of a problem doing that. However, I had the support of my parents to fall back on and that was the main cause of my strength. As I'm preparing to leave, I'm starting to realise just how much that support has meant to me.

I always thought that I'd get along fine. I managed it back before, in my twenties and always thought that, if I could cope by myself, while undergoing major mental illness due to gender dysphoria, I'd be easily able to cope once I sorted that out.

Only, I worry that, with the not being able to have children stuff, that's never going to happen. I'm realising that the support of your parents gets changed into the support of your partner. I'm screwed without that and transition just makes me feel even more dependent. It doesn't help that my body is saying "become more dependent, so you can have the babies you want" and it isn't helping that, even were I to want to adopt, I'd have to be dependent on a partner anyway.

The idea terrifies me. But lots of women do it and suffer few bad effects. On the other hand, they usually get to be the mother of someone's child and cherished for that. I can't see that happening to me, ever.

Sometimes, I can see myself as the mother of a child, anyone's child, in terms of adoption. That scares me, though, in the sense I don't think I would bond and the disconnect between "I would totally love my own child, if I had one" and "I don't think I can love anyone" is starting to get a little odd and it's making me wonder why.

It's also a bit odd in that, before the surgery, I used to be fine about loving the world and making everyone in it my child, in that sense. It kinda worked for me and I enjoyed it. It kept me sane and I'm not sure what's happening now that I feel like that's permanently gone from me.

I guess part of it is that, well, I've always hoped that I could get some of that expression through work. I could love the people around me and be useful and successful that way. But that's not how work works. There are professional boundaries and if I try that, someone will take it away from me as inappropriate anyway. So I've learnt not to do that.

Another part of that, however, may also be something to do with my childhood and how I was brought up. I'm starting to realise that a lot of the sadness I felt when I was very little, a lot of the emptiness, came from knowing I wouldn't be able to have children when I was young. By young, I mean around 7/8.

I can remember those things and all of that seemed to have crystallised when I went to secondary school. I certainly felt sad about stuff I could not quite identify and some of that stuff feels very similar to the childlessness stuff I'm going through now.

Given that I'm feeling that I'm useless, worthless and deserve to die because of it, I'm kinda terrified about how that affected me when I was young and, looking back, the answers are not good.

I have no emotional connection to huge chunks of my emotions and schooling period. When I was working in the school, they was an assumption that you use your appreciation of childhood, in which you were taught well, and you use that to become a good teacher.

I have to say, I wouldn't trust those parts of my childhood. They were uniformly bad. If I used that as a template for dealing with children, I would not handle it very well. I haven't been handling it well. I'm starting to realise that all of that is causing me to bottle a lot of stuff up and not talk to people. And I need to. I need to at least make certain actions based on this, otherwise, I'm going to tear myself up inside and explode.
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Yesterday's post prompted me to start doing some research about childlessness stuff and trying to figure out what to do about it.

In terms of positive things, I've learned that there are lots of people who are in the same boat I'm in, which is always helpful, and I've identified certain support groups that exist. I can adjust to it in the way I've adjusted to a whole lot of other things in my life.

The national statistics are a bit sobering. 1 in 5 women are childless now and I've also seen that most become so due to circumstance not choice.

It's been interesting and helpful to read a lot about it as I seem to be making some headway into what's actually bothering me and what I can really do about it. It always helps to read stuff from other people's experiences and go "that's me" or "definitely not me".
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(no subject)

This is perhaps the longest I've ever gone on here without writing something, which is in itself unusual. I've been doing a bit more writing on Facebook, where people I actually know are. It seems easier to get messages out to the people who know me.

On the other hand, this is still the best place to write out thoughts and feelings on those occasions I'm not sure that I know how or what to do with them.

On the whole, life is going pretty well. I have a job lined up in Bristol for which I'm just waiting for certain bits of paperwork to come through. It will mean moving to another city to start a new life, but I will be able to live better than I have here, so.

I'm also writing a computer game. It's bizarrely going. It's been a long standing ambition of mine. One I thought I'd given up with transitioning, but I need to have something creative to do and writing a computer game provides that, especially when I start to dwell on bad things too much.

The tract of life that isn't going well is that the children thing keeps bothering me, as does the fact that I'm not in a relationship. I'm not really sure where all of this is coming from, but I really feel the pressure that, well, the thing that men want out of women is babies. I can't do that, so no one is ever going to love me. I'm not going to be happy. I'm not going to be successful, where success is seeing all your children grow up and have children of their own.

I can see the happiness part of that sitting there, just permanently out of reach and it bothers me. I don't want to be permanently unhappy for the rest of my life and, well, I'm not sure there's any way that's not a guaranteed thing.

Adoption should be a way of making that better, but it bothers me more. I'm kinda worried that I wouldn't love a child just dropped into my care. I'm worried no one would want to support me through raising a child that isn't their own. I find it odd that my brain thinks that I would totally sort myself out and pull myself together if I could have a child of my own, but not apparently otherwise.

I can feel the social pressure to do it, I'm watching too many shows where people partner up and start a family and have children, so even normal methods of diversion are just making me think about it too much. I feel kinda guilty about the fact that I can't, which is crazy, because it's not that I won't but that I can't.

It's not just this, but I can see how the whole process has eroded my growing up, and why I tried to really not think about it for the last few years. I don't really know if I'll ever think of myself as a worthwhile human being.
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Adjusting to the Surgery

Life is a bit weird at the moment. It feels like, right after the surgery I jumped into a place in my brain where I was going to be and, then, my brain went "Oh Fuck No" and then actually tried to go from A to B by means other then hopping through the air.

It's... been a bit weird. There are times I wonder if I've made a horrible mistake. I've wondered that at various points after everything I've done, so it's not just now. But it's one of those things need to process.

On the plus side, I seem to be more engaged with the world and I seem to have a better connection with things. I sleep better and I'm going through work related stuff in a way I never quite managed before.

On the negative side, sometimes I get really depressed. The children thing bothers me a lot and I feel so goddamn old, tired and beyond any sensible use. I'm using computer games as a bigger displacement mechanism and sometimes I just feel upset and don't know what to do.

I think I know what might be the problem... Collapse )
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I'm not long back from a short trip to Budapest with my parents.

It was pretty amazing. We had an appartment in a great location, inside the main restaurant/nightlife area.

The River Danube cuts through the heart of the city north-south, and one side (the Buda, or west side) is very hilly, while the other (the Pest or east side) is absolutely flat. As a result, it has some lovely views, probably the nicest in any city I've seen, with some of the best from the castle complex located on a ridge in the centre of the city.

Apart from this, there's thermal hot baths, where even in the winter months you can bathe outside, the second oldest metro system in the world (and the oldest electrified too), and it has one of the nicest parliament buildings anywhere.

I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a short city break.
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Eurovision 2016

So Eurovision 2016 saw Eurovision go back to Sweden, after last year's eminently deserved song, "We are the heroes of our time", won.

The overall winner was Ukraine, but Australia spent most of the time leading, giving rise to questions like "what does happen if Australia win?" and, more importantly "why Australia?" (to which the only sane answer is "because magic Eurovision reasons").

There was also a strong showing by Russia, Sweden and France. In fact, this year distinguished itself by just how few bad songs were in the final. There were no bad translations, no songs solely trying to sell themselves by pretty dancers and sex, and though there were several attempts to go for the Alexander Rybak "I'm in love with a fairy tail" award for sheer smouldering cuteness in a male singer, only one was marginally painful, the rest backing up their claims with decent songs. Apparently, he bet on himself winning. He did not.

Cyprus went for a great rock song with people in cages, Austria went for a lovely twee ballad sung in French.

There was also some good staging from a lot of the acts, with the winner of the "We are the heroes of our special effects" award definitely going to Russia for a brain-bending and slightly mind-blowing moment when the singer start interacting with the projected background in a "who broke reality" way.

However, the real story of Eurovision 2016 will, undoubtedly be the Ukraine's song about genocide triumphing over Russia. That's not entirely fair, because for one thing, the Russian singer tried to build bridges and it was a good song, but it also discounts the emotional impact of the Ukrainian song. It was a moving and affecting song and, well, it definitely made me think of the stories my grandparents told about getting deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan.

Outside of the music itself, highlights included the absolutely hilarious interval song Love love peace peace in which the hosts tell us how to win Eurovision by mashing up a whole bunch of tropes. Burning pianos and Loreen scuttling across the stage, as well as the "milking" maid are all represented.

The Swedish presenter of a few years ago, Petra, made her no nonsense come-back, making sure that the Eurovision song contest would go smoothly, dammit. Or else. He double act with the last year's winner was a joy to behold.

This year also included the first time the song contest was showing in America, and the song contest had Justin Timberlake do some of the acts, presumably to ease our American cousins in gently.
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Programming and Writing

I'm going to be off on a holiday trip for a few days soon, for a few days. It should be interesting and a welcome break from the routine. I decided to tag along with my parents, as I travel well with them and my mother is good at planning breaks. However, that means I really want to make the next one completely lacking in parents. I need to do some striking off on my own. I hadn't realised how much my mood is tied in with getting a bit of independence.

Programming is going fine, surprisingly. I had a major showstopping bug a few days ago that pretty much destroyed my sense of self-confidence and worth, but I read up around it, left it alone and then, suddenly, everything twigged again one walk home. I came home, did the changes that were in my head and everything fit, more or less, and worked properly.

The short answer is that I really don't understand asynchronous code, which is how Javascript works. It's a completely different way of writing code from everything I've ever done, because statements that come directly after something else aren't executed directly after that thing, not if they're related to some future event that is yet to happen.

I've also been doing some writing. I'm going through one of those phases where there's a lot of stuff trapped in my head but I haven't yet managed to figure out how to get it out. There's too much and my head feels like a pressure cooker. Writing is alike a release valve. It helps let things out. Mainly, I'm going back through something I've written, which is a fragment of an action/adventure fantasy story, and I'm just changing numerous broken bits that I'm not happy with, to give the story the right flow it needs. There are a couple of plot-flow elements that don't add up, and they've been bugging me. So I've made some down-payments in fixing these, even if it means leaving out huge great chunks of the story.

I might post it later, just to see what people think, but I don't see that one going anywhere per say. It's based on some childhood ideas I had which, in hindsight, are kinda childish and reveal a lot about trans issues I didn't know about then, but there's a certain sense of catharsis to writing it and, well, I've aimed for a simple action/adventure story, which ignores a hell of a lot, which is to the good.
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Trying to Get A Bit of Control Back

So, the surgery itself has been a bit of a disempowering process. It pretty much took away my muscle tone, any independence from my parents I'd managed to gain and it seems to have raised some stuff that's eroding my sense of self worth.

So, somewhere around about now, I started to fight back a bit. It's been slow and small things, really. Whether it's been making sure I vote, getting out one tube stop early on the way home or slowly starting to unsubscribe from the various job services that have been bombing me with jobs, none of which fit.

Also, I've slowly taken a bit more responsibility for my appearance, getting some extra clothing and starting to care a bit more about how I look. This can be both a positive and negative things, so I need to be careful, but it's been good.

I'm hoping to do a bit more of that. Not sure where it'll go, but I'll see.