Aug. 28th, 2018 05:18 pm
jinian: (worms' meat)
Well. It turns out that the friend who set off my libido avalanche recently is totally up for experimenting together. And it is experimenting, on both sides -- I've thought for a while that I needed a close friend who was up for messing around rather than an unknown person, because there's just too much to deal with otherwise. I have a lot of shiny new goddamn hangups about consent and my own desirability, and I haven't been managing to juggle that even with people I've otherwise felt cautiously interested in. Plus, I still haven't had penetrative sex with anyone since the hysterectomy, which maybe shouldn't matter so much but does. (She has her reasons for going slowly too.)

It's going very well, and we figured out a good edible/dose that helps with anxiety and isn't disorienting, which I've used at other times since.* It's really exciting and great?

It's also frustrating and difficult, because she lives far away and is not easily substitutable with other people. Especially since I technically could move anywhere I wanted now! But it's a bad idea. (Right? Bad idea. Even though there are a number of good things about the idea that are not directly related to sexy times. Too soon. World might explode again if move for girl again. Let's not.)

Having this awareness of a physical connection with another person is wonderful, though. Distracting at times, obviously, but it's something that I've missed and am really enjoying. Flirtation is great.

I'm still not physically well, and I feel anxious a lot, but this one thing is pretty unalloyed good, and I'm happy about it.

* The danger of using this is that you might get obsessed with the texture of a family member's shirt and demand to pet it. I'm sure she's not onto me at all, though.
jinian: chibi Hana from 7 Seeds working hard! (hana stivver)
So I think I might have explained my sensory/social issues to my mom almost completely earlier tonight.

I had what should've been a good day, but anxiety bit me pretty hard this afternoon, and there was no way I was going to be up for family game night. While stubbornly driving to get a Blizzard because a formerly preferred burger place where I went for lunch had decided not to have milkshakes any more (then perish), I came up with a really good analogy.

When Mom came home, I deployed it. I said, imagine if, every time you were around people, even one, your clothes started to turn to sandpaper.

And she was like OH, even before I fully explained. "It's like that for you?!"

I said, yeah, that's just how my brain is. If it's only one or two people that I know well, it's like, one cuff, and a fine grain. I can ignore that! Twenty people including screamy children at family game night is ALL MY CLOTHES AND UNDERWEAR and SUPER SANDY GRIT.

Mom is also an introvert, but "family" is somehow a different category for her, and her tolerance is higher overall, so I've struggled to really explain my deal. We talked some more about it, and sure, she was raised around a bunch of people, so part of it is training, but we also just have different capacities. We agreed that she should totally convey this explanation to the fam, and she will also help facilitate my hanging out with them one at a time, which I would actually enjoy.

The epiphany might not stick; I'm expecting to have to remind her. But it went so well this time that I think any reminders should be pretty painless and effective. Behold the power of metaphor!
jinian: (fft ninja)
Last night, Cousin 4 was in town, so we went over for dinner. Found out at the last minute that WAY MORE PEOPLE were going to be there, which is always so great to be surprised by. At that house, everyone just jams into the dining room until they can't fit, and it gets really loud, so I retreated pretty quickly to another room. It's nice to live closer to family, I guess, but the ways that people have never understood me are much more obvious when I'm around them more often.

Eventually, I got drawn into a game, which was better. I will talk to humans! All I ask is that there not be ten people all talking at once! And a barky dog that people are aggravating! Please.

Playing a game that a very small cousin made up by himself was the best part of the evening. I was warned about his tendency to actually hurt you if his toy is fighting your toy, and I was not entirely safe even though we started with a board game. (Pencils are swords, and his pawn was an aggressive little thing.) But he was really creative about everything. He can't read yet, so answering the questions on the cards, which is how you normally move, was out. Instead he took the four pawns we weren't using and rubbed them in his hands until one fell out, and each of us was assigned two of their colors, so we got to move when our color fell out. Smart! And then of course we got into purely imaginative play, where the game board itself became a giant shark and the box was houses. (I was responsible for the timer being a cannon, though.)

On the way home, Mom got back into her "recommending things to the chronically ill person" mode. She claims not to be unhappy or disappointed with my introversion, but it's obviously not true -- she claimed I wasn't "my best self" because I wasn't up for full-on family game night (which is like 20 people including six children) less than 48 hours after my cross-country move. Fuck off with that. And I've told her that it's hurtful when people jump in with solutions. So when she mentioned acupressure, and I said I'd tried and it doesn't work any more because my sinuses have been inflamed FOR OVER A YEAR, she literally said "have you done it for long enough?"

How long is long enough to know something doesn't fucking work? If you start from the premise that it's going to work, then I should just sit here using my hands (which are arthritic btw, and this does hurt them) to apply pressure to my face all day every day, until something that isn't working decides to work. And clearly I should also spend all my time on every other thing that someone suggests. 100% effort times the number of suggestions, FOREVER, seems totally reasonable, especially when I'm debilitated, right?

At that point, I was just like, yep, guess I'm doing it wrong. I'm sure that's it. She eventually noticed that I was blowing her off and said "well, I haven't been dealing with this as long, I still have hope."


I said, "I am doing something, and it's working, it's just not working very fast. And I'm going to keep doing it, even if it involves drinking large amounts of Limonata." (Which she has teased me about before.) She hadn't realized that was a sinus management strategy, but jfc, I'm on a million decongestants and antihistamines, I'm dry as a bone all the time, which I need to not be or my sinuses will get worse, and even I get bored with THAT much water.

So I stood my ground, but it sucks that she didn't listen when we had this conversation before. Yes, it hurts when people jump in with suggestions all the time. You're telling me that you don't think I am trying hard enough. I know how much I can try, and I'm doing it. Just because you mean well doesn't mean you're not hurting chronically ill people with this behavior.
jinian: (bachelor's button bud)
1. astolat's Transformers fic.

2. Lots of useful errands today.

3. Planting things in the big dirt.
jinian: (chiyo)
1. Consentacle.

2. Train trip! Still lots of lovely scenery and general enjoyment even when details get annoying.

3. Home with mom and cat.

4. Adorable trip follow-up texts.

good things

Jul. 9th, 2018 06:14 pm
1. Dance break! First time I've felt strong enough for one of those in a while.

2. Turns out I am very definitely trauma-induced demi rather than trauma-induced ace. At least at the moment. While this is somewhat frustrating at the moment, I am overall delighted that my bits still work.

3. Taking friend to sushi and planting flowers tonight! A perfect jinian vacation.

good things

Jul. 4th, 2018 03:49 pm
jinian: (c'est la vie)
1. I have never seen anyone watch a show as fast as Mom is watching Scandal. It's really funny.

2. Folded clothes and vacuumed my room in preparation for going on my trip on Friday.

3. Fireworks! I know dogs hate 'em but they make me happy.


Feb. 23rd, 2018 11:17 am
jinian: (worms' meat)
As I'm still not doing well (health-wise or trauma-wise) in the Boston area, I'm planning to move back to the Seattle area in a couple of months. Squeak and I are landing at my mom's place initially, and the long-term plan is to look for some inexpensive land in an appropriate biome and eventually build a house. The medium term remains undetermined; there might be a cheaper apartment than my current one to facilitate savings, or I might stay at Mom's for longer -- I am hardened to roommates now, after all, and there are fewer annoyances with Mom's housekeeping than with most, since she's the one who trained me.

The exact move date is not yet determined; I'm trying to stay a bit flexible for now, in case the person taking my room (also not yet determined) needs something in particular. I'll definitely be here throughout March, though, and my health is not so bad that I can't go out once in a while, so let me know if you want to see Black Panther again do something!
jinian: (c'est la vie)
I got done (well. basically done.) with my work for today in good order and decided that, rather than being completely lazy, I would go out to get the Thai food and milk tea boba that I was craving. Going past the park, kids were shouting and dogs wearing lighted collars were zooming around, and a huge, beautiful full moon was rising. I found out that I like the restaurant in person as well as I like it delivered -- I hadn't thought there was good pad see ew in this town, so of course it's right down the street -- and I was amused by the life-sized fake tarantulas still on the windows they seated me next to. I ate way too many noodles and read fanfic (setissima is amazing), then went by the comic store and fell prey to classic manga by women, a cute lesbian memoir, my own comics nostalgia (it's only been 15 years, comics, what are you doing), and the dollar rack. At home, there was a cat yelling at me, as is only right, and a package of pretty things from a friend.

I should probably actually finish my work for today, but that was really nice. I hope the weather gets cold enough to kill the ragweed soon so I can go out more without having to decontaminate immediately and itch anyway.


Jul. 3rd, 2017 11:06 pm
jinian: (red scarf)
And cat care. These are the themes of my working at home so far.

I have had a non-patchy tongue for the first time since I can remember. I'm eating my vegetables. The cats can yell for fresh food when they need it and will actually eat, so they're seeming much stronger. I have enough money to buy clothes I've been needing and enough energy to do the shopping with.

Not everything is perfect -- I need to sort out better ergonomics and more exercise, COBRA is an asshole, and my allergies are still present enough to have given me a mild sinus infection -- but this feels like progress and like recovery. I nearly went dancing this past weekend, which I haven't felt up for in ages.

And I have a paper on DNA barcoding of wild kiwifruit to read and edit next! (This morning I carefully edited a paper on hysterectomies for trans men to avoid calling the patients "woman" or "she"; they had only messed up a little and their language doesn't use pronouns, but it's important.) I'm learning how to edit to a specific standard, I'm building stamina and speed, it's effort, but this is fun.

I'm still sad and afraid and lonely, but I have something really good to do while I keep working on recovering.
jinian: (fft ninja)
The new job is a positive experience overall despite taking up a lot of mental energy. I'm reading lots of interesting papers, and I'm pretty fast at editing already for things in my wheelhouse (*cough* fudged my time upwards yesterday on the one about overexpressing proteins in Arabidopsis because we generated 1.21 gigawatts there easy). Minor frustrations include the existence of meetings, videoconferenced though they be, and my newbie-team leader's tendency to talk around problems instead of spelling out problems and priorities directly. Oh, and I still need to buy an exercise ball to sit on, my hips require more variety.

Still, it's brilliant to be able to go "I'm so tired right now" and lie down for half an hour, and I'm glad to be present to take care of the infirm cats, who are likely to live longer the more often they can complain to me. Mom asked whether I missed having to go out. I texted her back "it's 100 degrees out today" "so no :joy:". I can go out if I want! I prefer not to subject myself to avoidable misery, though.

I'm still toying with the idea of moving to a cheaper, more beautiful location. I'm not entirely ready to give up on finding partners, though, and cheaper is strongly correlated with fewer options in that regard. (Will attractive lesbians phase through my apartment walls to find me even in a city, though? Seems unlikely.)
jinian: (c'est la vie)
Harvard stopped paying me on May 31, and my new job didn't start until the following Monday, so I took the chance to finally go to NYC with grad friend A the way we'd been talking about for months! It was perfect weather, sunny and cool, and we had an excellent time.

We agreed that getting there early wasn't worth getting up super early, so we met at the bus station at 9. It's nice to be comfortable enough with someone that you can just read and listen to music together for a few hours.

First New York meal: a corned beef reuben at the Starlight Diner. It's near the bus wasteland, and we needed food. A had gyros, and both our dishes were good but extremely large! I ate the other half of mine for dinner.

First activity: the Met! They were having a Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons fashion exhibit, which was amazing. We only had an hour and a half, story of my life when it comes to the Met, but honestly that's about all my joints can take of museum time without being able to sit and rest a lot. The fashion exhibit was glorious and made me even more disappointed in the basic bitches who went to the Met gala without even touching on the theme. There were plenty of ways to look sexy and interesting while still being avant-garde in Kawakubo's collections.

A kept trying to stop and look at paintings. No, if we don't go directly to the thing we want, we will be looking at everything else forever. We look at permanent-collection paintings after the limited exhibit!

She did have a brilliant idea afterward, though. We needed to eat New York cheesecake. Two Little Red Hens had good reviews and was reasonably nearby, and turned out to have excellent cheesecake, plus somehow 100% perfect lemonade. We didn't try the cupcakes, but they looked good too.

We checked out our hostel after that, which was a weird one -- there had been a deal on, so we'd booked a king-size private room. In a hostel. Well, it did turn out to be a private room with its own bathroom, and rather nice though entirely without appliances, but the mattress was very clearly a full size. Good thing neither of us is a wild sleeper.

A went out for a walk to admire the sunset, I rested and took aspirin and read a Courtney Milan novel. (Books on my phone, so much easier to carry around all day.)

In the morning, A's tamagotchi woke me up at 7. Thanks for that. More reading time! A got up at 8 and we headed off to find breakfast at Bagels & Co. I had a sesame bagel with cream cheese and fresh orange juice, and it became very clear why they charge so much for cream cheese: sheer volume. We also each got a rainbow-colored egg bagel (pride-related?) to take home; mine is in the freezer awaiting suitable toppings.

We had thought of going up to NYBG, but it's pretty far really and A can probably get sent there for work at some point, so we stayed in Manhattan instead. First stop: the Natural History Museum. We looked at very many dinosaur and mammal remains, and near the cool drawings of animals whole/muscled/bones-only we met a security guard. He complimented my spaceship shirt (based on this design) and asked if I was a pilot. No, I said, a scientist. He asked where we were based, and when we said Harvard he asked if we knew Neil deGrasse Tyson. We do not! But he does. He, in fact, gets into a Michael Jackson dance-off with him every year. Sadly, it didn't happen while we were there.

Next we took a walk along the High Line, which was much longer than last time I was in New York, absolutely hipster-saturated but a really lovely aerial park. We got pretty hungry during this but failed to find actual food in the area, so we headed off toward the Strand. My phone had run out of data (Twitter autoplay, RIP) so A was navigating, and she found that at our bus transfer point there was a Sushirrito. This is apparently a Bay Area chain, and it was highly amusing and delicious. They have a machine that makes the nori-and-rice wrapping, which is really clever, then the humans apply fish or whatever (A had chicken katsu, I had yellowtail), plus veggies and other good things. They are very tasty but less well thought out than burritos as to what happens at the ends of the cylinder.

We went to the Strand, which was actually the first time I'd been. A good bookstore. I got The Star-Touched Queen and a souvenir magnet. We left in good order with just enough time to get the obligatory Jamba Juice, which has considerately moved to be more convenient, at Penn Station, and dash to the bus.

The last adventure was at the Burger King at the bus rest stop in CT. A got not only chicken fries, which cost twice as much as chicken nuggets for being long and skinny and better spiced, but also... mac n' Cheetos. The latter is horrifying and hilarious, it's Cheeto-shaped deep-fried Kraft dinner, I do not understand who came up with this.

I made it home by midnight and then my knee hurt for four days, but oh well, it was a very good trip. :)
jinian: (fft ninja)
Hi. I'm leaving the academic job track. In... two days.

Why? Lots of reasons. My postdoc hasn't been successful, which is due in part to trauma and in part to disabilities. The academy is deeply fucked up in a lot of ways that I no longer see it as my job to change. There are brilliant young women out there who love science and will continue to push.

My new job is both science-related and social-justice-related: I'm going to be a manuscript editor for researchers who aren't native English speakers. There's tons of good science being done that may not get a fair shake because of the style it's written in, so I can help! It'll be fun and enriching -- I can learn new science, it'll be my job to read papers, and I'm looking forward to figuring out which grammatical errors go with which native languages. Everyone I've talked to at the company seems awesome, it sounds like a great culture fit, there's room for growth, and I'll be working remotely with flexible hours. It's delightful. I'm delighted.

It's also a loss. I'm okay and angry and thrilled all at once. I could live anywhere now, though I am very disinclined to move with two nineteen-year-old cats. But I won't be teaching students in person like I have been, and I won't be the mentor who helps make advanced degrees happen for talented people, and I won't be the cranky old professor asking pointed questions of the visiting seminar speakers.
jinian: (fft ninja)
Hi, I exist. It's a snow day, or half of one; Harvard admin/staff closed, but FAS did not, so I had to go in to lecture and teaching meeting. I then came home in something of a hurry before the snow got worse. I'm here to tell you the first ridiculous story of this semester, pasted from a group chat.

My Friday section contains two people with the same first and last name.

Correction: my section contains FOUR Williams. One goes by Will. But TWO of them have the same last name AND MIDDLE INITIAL.

(Note also that there is another section at this time, why are the two identically named young men not separated from each other.)

[friend 1]
it’s a test of ur will(s)

[friend 2]
Give them new better names

William the [adjective]

[friend 3]
"you will now be willhames welseton the third, and you will be wilma willson pennyworth".... oh. that makes a lot more sense.

[various other amusing ideas]

[friend 4]
or see if any of them would rather go by internet handles? xD

jinian [6:11 PM]
Okay, the story of the Wills gets better:

The two with the identical first MI and last know each other and grew up five miles apart. They know the third.


The fourth william was an INTERLOPER, who furthermore left early for a track meet. I said "you need this PCR product for your later labs" and he said:


[friend 2]
wait. does that mean there's a _fifth_ william who is actually on your class list

oh my god

jinian [6:13 PM]

The correct fourth William was missing and this slacker William took his place!

His identical twin IS IN FACT in this class. So twin of fifth William did the PCR yesterday in his lab section and I guess they figure they can share?!

I sent all this information to the preceptor (along with an accusation that she was trolling me with these Williams) and her response was,

"!!!!!!! No! Will contact Will."

She wins.
jinian: (lost sakura)
I keep not posting, because I don't want to just say that I'm still not okay.

Stuff is hard. Someone on Twitter was asking people to say nice things that had happened to them this year, and, welp. I have accomplished some stuff that I worked hard on, but the good things that happen are along the lines of "this thing I worked hard on didn't unexpectedly fail anyway."

The cats are doing all right for being eighteen and a half. I'm enjoying teaching, though it's tiring. I've set up an online store for my pottery, and intend to add more items than one at some point. There's slightly more of a possibility of getting the permanent job I want, since it's on an org chart now. New roommate and I are pretty compatible. I should be able to start allergy shots next month, and the foot that failed catastrophically for no reason is seeming some better. I mostly don't feel scared when I go out. When my computer died I was able to afford a new one.

This is all not as bad as it could be. But I'm not actually okay. I'm not sure I'm going to be.


Jul. 1st, 2016 12:14 am
I am nowhere near caught up on LJ/DW because of silly issues in transition between browsers and programs that I need to use for work (and quasi-work like making dragon game festivals happen). However, a lot is happening. The most important things are:

(1) Shiny new baby ball python.

just in case of phobias )

(2) Shiny new trauma diagnosis.

(Secondhand. Usually happens to therapists, so writings thereupon are not terribly useful for my situation.)

Therapist: So I think this is what's going on.

Me: But lots of people have much worse bad things actually happen to them directly, I should be fine.

Therapist: Well, now you sound like a trauma survivor.

Me: >.>

Dragon game festival is going swimmingly, though people are a little less awestruck by our entire book than I was hoping. Managed to goad a friend into writing fanfic of it already, though. :D
jinian: (lost sakura)
Feeling down and having trouble concentrating the last few days. Still being sick doesn't help, of course. Allergist visit May 20!

I had a good time Sunday going to Civil War and Martsa with Beth and Sandry, and I made things at pottery class on Saturday.

Felt discouraged this morning and then pointed out to myself that my past few years have gone:

- Developed severe undiagnosed abdominal pain.
- Finished a Ph.D.
- Worked on a demoralizing project for a year.
- Moved across the country.
- Got dumped in a weird retconning way that gave me trust issues.
- Developed progressively worse abdominal pain.
- Had trouble doing the project I actually wanted to do because of illness.
- Finally got a diagnosis and had a difficult surgery.
- Lost my dad.
- Broke up with someone I liked because the relationship just didn't make sense any more.
- Lost my cat.
- Developed nonstop sinus problems.
- Got dumped in a particularly scalding way by the person I really wanted to be with.

(And, as usual for the litany of woe, I have probably forgotten some shit.)

It is a goddamn triumph that I get out of bed in the morning. So there.
Turns out when you have had sinus misery for about five months, and then you're crying really hard about your loneliness and how bad the world has turned out to be, you can give yourself a nosebleed.

Do not recommend.
jinian: (Winry kicks ass)
1. My assistant, whom I have gotten hooked on Hidden Sweets in Harvard Square, went there last week and texted to inform me that the beloved grapefruit gummi candy of song and story has been discontinued, and that HS was already out. After partially recovering from my shock, I went to the internet and ordered a 3-lb bag of them, which has now arrived. Next step: confirm their correct identity by eating a precious single one. Then I can set up a safe-deposit box.

2. I felt really good today. I've been managing energetic or physical well-being or motivated lately, but today I felt like me, pretty much all day. It was wonderful. It's been way too long.

3. Now I just need something to do with this ridiculous upswing of libido. (Total Prince immersion maybe not helping here.)

4. Completed the writing style guide for the Brightshine Jubilee storybook finally! Now I have something to refer bitches to when they try to start with me about whether "archeologist" is misspelled. I'm really excited about this project, even though it's making me stressed about Flight Rising overall. C came up with it and plans to typeset the whole thing, and I wound up lead writer because I got stuck managing the "omg we can't possibly have a pirate theme pirates are evil" drama into "okay we're having seafaring adventures and here is how it ties to the site canon." And of course since I'm the only person involved with the project who can herd cats, that's where all my energy is going. Please can you do the thing you said would be done a week ago, M, thx. But! Style guide is done, all the pages have been claimed by artists and writers, all I should need to do now is a little light whip-cracking and then final edits.

5. Currently reading Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney. I had trouble getting into it at first because her style is a little overdone, but by chapter 2 I was on board. She swings from childhood attention-getting antics to reminiscences of queer-liberal-musician callout culture in 90s Olympia, says she can't call herself a musician and then comes out with deeply considered ideas about the nature of performance. I never lived in Olympia or Redmond, but I'm from nearby enough that I have my own ideas about them, so reading about them is a mix of familiarity and prejudice-confirmation (i'm sorry but evergreen college) that has me grinning over the book constantly.
[Those of you who follow me on Twitter have seen bits of this before. I had more to say, so decided to rework rather than tweetspam.]

I had never seen Purple Rain before, due to being seven years old at the time it came out. (Good choice, Mom!) AMC brought it out in theaters across the US this weekend in memory of Prince, and I badly wanted to go. Twitter has been mourning with me, but it hasn't felt like enough.


I loved Prince, but I never loved him as he deserved. That was wonderful and I want to see it on the big screen yearly.

We all clapped at the beginning "dearly beloved," at Purple Rain, and at the ending. Coincidentally also where I cried a little. I dressed lowkey, but the theater was sprinkled with beauty: purple fascinators, glitter shoes, lace.

Some bits of the movie are over the top, and being in the theater detracted from my experience once or twice. (Yes, I get that his father was literally a motherfucker, but you can stop giggling any time.) Some of it was really powerful, though. The part where he physically could not listen to his bandmates' music, a thing which he needed to do to get off the toxic course he was on, because his trauma was happening right there in the room with him: wow. I have my reasons to be interested in patterns of abuse these days, and this was helpful to my understanding without being too on the nose.

I'm bemused and annoyed by the way people seem to have taken the movie as a biography of Prince; I get that it's a little confusing, since his music is woven into it so strongly, but other people wrote that story, it is fiction. For instance, Prince was not biracial, a piece of misinformation that I've seen far too often recently.

Number of times I thought "my god he's beautiful": roughly 70??? I got a hot dog at the theater, but it was WHOLLY INADEQUATE as a sublimation target for the things I wanted to do to Prince in that movie. Damn. He even hit my "smartass/troll" button, though, much like Tony Stark, the character took it rather beyond what I'd put up with in real life.

I was thinking about "I'm not a woman/ I'm not a man/ I'm something that you'll never understand" on the way home, too, and the way our mourning for Prince and Bowie has been all about their gender transgressiveness and our nearly universal lust for them. It seems to me that, generally, women love men the best when they love femininity enough to adopt some of it for their own use. It's not just that they're not threatened by femininity, but that we feel more loved when men are willing to be like us in that way, when sometimes it's even more dangerous for them to be feminine than it is for us.

(Also, you gotta love that inevitable moment when the guy who winds up with the contested affections of a girl is called a faggot. That one got a good laugh from the audience tonight.)

Thus I have a new theory of gender-transgressive transformative works (perhaps overlapping in places with the "we slash because we want to read/write relationships which aren't societally unequal" theory): women and other feminine folks love these male characters so much that we want to share our femininity with them as a gift, and we want to believe that they would love us enough to happily embrace it, like Prince did.


hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite

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