Generosity

Jul. 30th, 2015 09:00 pm
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
Pretty sure LJ is mostly dead, which makes this a safe corner of the internet to ramble to a limited audience...

I've been thinking about generosity, lately, and reciprocity. I've been the recipient of what feels to me extraordinary generosity in terms of people's time, and their interest, and even financially: people have bought me lunch, or occasionally drinks, or given me gifts - a book, or sometimes money - or let me sleep in their spare room/on their futon and fed me in their homes.

And once upon a time - ten years ago, give or take - I would've insisted on refusing their generosity. Because I cannot repay it in kind. And even now, accepting it makes me uneasy on so many levels - am I taking advantage? Am I sponging? Am I a parasite? What are the ethics of accepting kindness from friends?

I suppose I worry about reciprocity more, lately, than usual, because of the peculiar desert of the looking-for-work. I have enough brain to worry, as I didn't in the last months of my PhD. But hardly any income, and lately I begin to worry exceedingly over the prospects of coming by some in a more regular way. And so I am appalling grateful for generosity, because it is by generosity that I feel less trapped - while at the same time having no idea when or even if reciprocity will be possible.

It is a strange feeling. I am not entirely sure I am not mad.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Today I'm twenty-nine years old. Another year older and still not dead!

It has been my habit on my birthday, the last couple of years, to send messages to people telling them how much I appreciate their presence in my life. This year, I think, there are too many people to make that entirely practical - and I don't know all their emails. So I'm just going to write here what I want to say.

Dear friends,

It's been a tricky year, since this time in 2014. Without you, I wouldn't be here. Without you, I wouldn't have a PhD all but in hand. Without you, my life would be so much poorer and smaller, and contain so much less joy. I am honoured by your acquaintance, and your friendship, your hospitalities and your support: your presence in my life is a gift and a blessing, and it humbles me.

Thank you. Never stop being awesome.

Dr. Me?

Jun. 24th, 2015 06:15 pm
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I defended my thesis on Monday afternoon. Viva voce. Successfully: I have minor corrections (the examiners' reports are, between them, 20 pages long) and once that is done I can go do new things.

I enjoyed myself, once I forgot to be terrified. And afterwards some people even came out to help me celebrate, which meant a very great deal to me. People! Showing up to mark this milestone in my life! I felt... cared for.

So many people have helped me get this far, with support moral and otherwise. So much encouragement. I have been deeply honoured by it, and I do not forget how very much I owe to so very many.




Yesterday, I went for a walk and for a swim and got myself sunburned. Today all I want to do is sleep. It is somewhat frustrating. Life feels very strange.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
GANDALF: Theoden king stands alone.
Eomer: Not alone. ROHIRRIM!


Watching #hometovote on Thursday night and Friday, that was how I felt.

On Friday, 22 May 2015, the Irish nation voted overwhelmingly to give equal protection to all persons choosing to marry without distinction as to their sex. It - we - voted to affirm the equality of GLBT citizens in the eyes of the constitution.

Today we watched the returns come in. Today we saw history made. Today, in the crowds in the courtyard of Dublin Castle, cheering when every constituency went green for YES (and booing for Roscommon-South Leitrim, shame on you, you let the side down a bit there), today we began a new history.




I have now heard a crowd break spontaneously into the national anthem.

This is not a thing I ever expected to hear.

But when David Norris spoke a few words to the crowd in that courtyard - a rowdy, cheerful crowd that nonetheless went silent to hear him speak - ending on a note of liberté, egalité, fraternité, everyone. Just. Started.



Buíon dár slua
thar toinn do ráinig chughainn,
Faoi mhóid bheith saor
Seantír ár sinsear feasta,
Ní fhágfar faoin tíorán ná faoin tráill.


I have never in my life seen anything like it. There was a crush just to get in to the courtyard where the screen was bringing up the constituencies as they turned green for Yes. And every time another one went green the roar. Laughing. Crying. Hugging people met randomly. And when Leo Varadkar appeared, a Fine Gael government minister who only came out this year and turned into the most unlikely gay icon of our time... the whole crowd started chanting, "LEO, LEO, LEO."

One of the highest turnouts for a referendum ever in this country. A landslide in the Dublin constituencies. A two-thirds majority across the country.

Everyone who canvassed. Everyone who came out on national TV, in the newspapers, on doorsteps all over the country, whose courage and compassion and generosity are an example to us all - thank you. Everyone who came #hometovote, that army pouring over the hill - thank you. THANK YOU.

It took me until this year to realise and admit to myself properly that I was bisexual - queer, primarily attracted to women, whatever words are the words that shape the place where a person fits. It took me so long because I was slow to realise it was even possible, much less normal. Much less safe. (My subconscious has some really odd narratives about sex and desire - and I blame being a bastard in nineties Ireland in part for that.)

And now. Now my heart hurts with gladness because this whole bloody country just turned around and said Ah GO ON. Turned out in droves to say Let grá be the law.

It's in the constitution now, bigots. NO TAKEBACKS.

No, it's not the end of the road. No, it's not a panacea. It will not solve quiet social prejudice, or erase Irish homo- and transphobia overnight, or address any number of other problems. But today, Ireland?

TODAY WE ARE LEGENDS WHO MADE HISTORY.

(And I was there to see it.)

What a day. O what a LOVELY day.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I am very tired of feeling this completely broken.

I'll have a stretch of time - two or three days at once, maybe four - where I'm not swimming through treacle. And then five days, or a week, where everything is exhausting, the smallest things make me anxious, and getting anything done requires an utterly disproportionate amount of energy and effort. It is frustrating. And depressing, because it contributes to a constant background feeling of being a failure. If I can't hardly even manage to get up the energy to feed myself, I am seriously failing adulthood.

And I don't know what to do. Which is a childish plaint.

Sigh. Onwards, onwards. Maybe I can find the energy to complete a small task today, despite myself.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
When I went out to do my errands before noon, the world seemed saturated in light. High sun, blue heavens, a heat-hazy mist on the horizon. The tide rising towards full, with a seal bobbing its head at the mouth of the harbour and the water clear and millpond-still, taking a milky hue out around the headland. Chilly to the feet when I went to paddle, but less so than last week - so I hurried through my errands and hastened home for my swimming things.

The Irish Sea is still officially fucking cold. But rather less so than last week: the submersion less shocking, and I proved actually able to swim for a thirty-count rather than a ten-count. Shocking cold. Feel capillaries contracting. Headrush. Wow.

My skin tingled all over for an hour after I dried off and got dressed again. Now I suppose I should do something that counts as real work, perhaps...




I haven't been very talkative here for a while. Mostly because when I feel like talking it is rarely about things I feel comfortable talking about publically, anymore: it's very weird, but I'm more conscious of how much of my self-presentation is - has to be - mediated through various personas now. And since I handed in my thesis (viva date in June! Eek!) I've been engaged in several not-exactly-comfortable processes of self-discovery/self-realisation: I'm not entirely certain of who I am and how I want to present myself - as opposed to my work - to the world these days.

That's taking up quite a bit of my thinking space. And, well. Work and job applications and worry over the future: they take up the rest.
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
So last week I spent three evenings attending this year's Stanford Memorial Lectures, given by Myles Lavan on the topic of enfranchisement in the Roman empire. I feel as though I ought to have something to say about Lavan's work - he was explaining his approach to calculating the extent of citizenship prior to the grant of Caracalla in 212CE, using probabalistic modelling and other tools from the field of science and economics - but although I enjoyed listening to his lectures, I really don't. My brain is not yet recovered enough to go coursing after hares.

It is recovered enough, just about, to start brushing up on my languages. Thanks to RFI, I have a bunch of resources for French, and I've gone back to the beginning with my Greek textbook. I'm a fairly desultory student of languages, at best, but I can try for a little effort.

So. That is the news with me.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Today I have committed bureaucracy, and also gym. Give us this day our daily bread, and deliver us from waiting in ticketed lines, for lo it is a small evil among many small evils.

It was relatively painless, as these things go, except for the part where I have to go back again tomorrow to collect my new ration of paperwork. Adulting. I am doing it? Especially since I also bought socks. Socks without holes in are important. I probably should not have bought socks, because money, but, well. The sock drawer is deeply embarrassing right now.

And gym.

Benchpress: 1x5 @60kg, 3x5 @65kg
Squats: 1x10 @20kg, 1x10 @25kg, 1x10 @27.5kg.
Sundry other weightlifting things, like military press and other things whose names I have forgotten, at embarrassingly small weights.
Cycling, resistance 8, 10km in 28:45.
Rowing, resistance 10, 2km in 11:00.

It is very pleasant to have energy to go forth and do things. Also it is very pleasant that the sun is shining, even though it remains cold. It is thirdly very pleasant that I know many wonderful people who are kind and appear to like me, which I can appreciate all the better now the thesis is submitted, and fourthly it is very pleasant to have LEISURE TIME.

Fifthly: sleeping normal people hours and waking up in mornings? The novelty and wonder, it has not worn off.
hawkwing_lb: (Liara doing)
Now that I've put my thesis on submission and it is someone else's problem for a while, my brain has found a new-old thing to fret about: money, and the fact I don't have any.

(Cake and beer was a grand achievement in the food shopping yesterday. Nearly didn't happen, and if I hadn't got some freelance money today the bank would be dunning me about overdrawing my overdraft.)

I don't even know if I'm eligible to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance in my present in-between state. I need to find out, because without it the lights probably don't get to stay on in April.

Sigh. Life would be so much easier with a working printer. And a light box. And a job, if my brain weren't so broken right now that thinking is hard.

Or maybe patronage.

Talking about money is crass. But good lord, it's frustrating. And anxious-making.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
My thesis is submitted. Until my viva voce examination, it is officially someone else's problem.

Now is the time for sleeping normal people hours again and re-learning how to gym and feel things that aren't stress-feelings.

Today I also got a haircut, went to the gym, and found myself borne out to a coffee shop in good company for celebratory foodstuffs. I am amazed at the amazing people whom I have the privilege of knowing.

Gym log:
Cycling: 7.5km in 21:45.
Rowing: 0.4km in 02:00.
Benchpress: 4x5 reps @60kg
Squats: 1x10 reps @20kg, 2x10 reps @25kg. (Though I'm pretty sure my squat form is terrible.)
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
My thesis is all-but-done. I'm awaiting my supervisor's final-final comments and her blessing to submit, and I hope to have that in hand by the end of next week - which is to say, the end of the month.

Physically, I'm pretty run down. I've just come off a fairly lingering chest infection and an autumn-winter of sickness after sickness, with an ankle ligament problem complicating all my other issues. The ankle ligament problem seems to be improving - slowly - although I suspect it'll be another six months before I can run on it, if I don't throw myself into any setbacks.

Mentally, emotionally? If I'm not completely burned out, I'm right next door. I hate everything and everything is difficult, and I have a difficult time focusing enough to read anything with a solid narrative through-line or watch anything at all. I need to wrap up the review I owe by Friday and then probably write in to everyone else to whom I owe things that I'm broken and that I won't be able to hand in work for them until I'm fixed.

Which is a damn shame because in addition to being broken, I'm also broke. But the sooner I take a break the quicker I'll get back on the damn horse.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Not feeling up to much communication. Apparently there's less work involved in finishing up a thesis than there is emotional turmoil.

Nope, still not done. Getting there.

Thud.

Jan. 15th, 2015 09:34 pm
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
The draft is dead.

Long live the draft.

Next stage, conclusion and illustrations. But that's next week's bloody problem, so it is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a beer.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Thanks to Toronto Tourism and INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair, I got to take a trip to Toronto this month. Between Tuesday 11th November and Monday 17th November, I was either in Toronto or in transit between Dublin and Toronto.

I flew with Air Canada via Heathrow. The flight out was one of the more painless long flights of my existence. The aircraft was the very latest in shiny passenger-flying, with actual headroom and windows that could be tinted five different shades of green, and they fed us. Recognisable and tasty food: dinner, a snack, and then a hot wrap thing that actually tasted of its ingredients. Plenty of soft drinks: I had some Canadian ginger ale and discovered I liked it.

I landed to sunset in Toronto, and felt as though I’d stepped onto a film set.

I find the skyline, and the layout, of North American cities surreal, when I see them in person. They are so much a part of English-language television, and so different to the cities I am used to, that visiting them feels rather like stepping out of reality and into a fictional dream where people might be uncommonly handsome and even the tenor of street noise is different. The straightness of the roads and the height of buildings messes with my sense of scale. The sky seems larger.

Surreal, like I said.

Read more... )
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I should remember that nice things do. Yesterday, I bought soup in a coffee soup. And bread. It turned out that the bread had started growing its own penicillin. I don't mind bread mould, particularly: there's nothing especially harmful about it mostly. But I pointed it out to the staff because I'd really rather not eat it.

And when I was going they did not let me pay for the chocolate brownie and hot milk I was taking away with me.

So that made me feel rather better about my day. Especially as I was fairly exhausted from visiting the counselling service.

Oh, yeah. I shoved the first mostly-full draft of my thesis off onto my supervisor's hands yesterday, too. So I am taking a break. For perspective. And to let my brain grow a little back, enough to handle Serious Revisions.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Five things make a post, as the ancient wisdom goes:

The physiotherapist says no running for me, not for a while. She pointed out I have puffiness and inflammation. I can do other things, but nothing high-impact.

I may have overcompensated on the cycling machine in the gym. 15km in 43:15, at moderate levels of resistance. I also lucked out and found two people willing to share the weights cage for benchpress, so I got to talk to nice people in between sets. 6x60kg, 5x65kg, 5x67.5kg, 4x70kg, and 8x60kg to finish. Basically an easy session, just cardio and benchpress.

The college counseling service had room for me to see the bloke I remember being helpful before next week, so I'm going to hit that up on Monday.

I slept before 0300 last night and made it out of bed before 0930, which is a milestone. I just have to keep that up every day for the rest of the year.

Today really feels like autumn. It's 1930 with twilight gloaming in under high and misty cloud, where the morning came in bright, and the air has a touch of damp and chill. I used to like autumn. Not so much anymore: autumn is too much a season of endings.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
The cat is sitting sentinel on a wheelie bin under the window, lion-like, paws crossed. It's an image that makes me think about how small he is, really, and how fragile. Cats.

I slept both too much and not enough last night. I cannot seem to sleep before 0300 ever, and no matter how I set my alarm it seems impossible to wake much before noon. Today I slept through the alarm right until 1400. I have a vague memory of answering the phone to mum sometime before I got up, but I don't think that counts as consciousness.

I went to the gym yesterday (pathetic), and out with some friends in the evening. For some reason being around them, much as I love them, makes me feel as though I'm not a particularly competent human. Mind you, being around most people makes me feel this way. I had fun and came home to write another 100 words on my thesis. It's never enough.

My thesis is depressing. It makes me want to commit self-murder.

I am a bundle of whine. But the high tide happens soon, so I will dare the jelly-fish and the clouds and go swimming.

Clothes

Aug. 30th, 2014 02:51 pm
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I'm hard on my clothes. (You don't need to know this, but I feel like sharing anyway.) I sweat into my shirts like a packmule in the tropics, no matter what I do and regardless of the weather, and my trousers wear out at the seams with disturbing regularity. Were it not for my lifelong aversion to skirts, solidified by six years under a uniform code, I might consider them a better investment.

So today, after discovering my last pair of trousers required surgery, I hied me into town (after meeting a friend I hadn't seen in ages for elevenses) and discovered that THERE WAS A SALE.

Now I have six pairs of trousers, and am very very broke. But hopefully these trousers will last a while longer.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.
Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/616111.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.

Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

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