Monthly Archives: September 2016

Cycling, week one

I’ve been on three rides since my last post.  Two were at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail.  I was riding at the western (Gainesville) end, which is quite hilly for the first four miles or so.

My first time out, I went out to the Alachua Lake overlook, which is about 2.75 miles from the trailhead.  I was planning on continuing on, but I was having problems shifting so I just rode back to my car.  (I took it to the shop later.  I’d accidentally installed the base for my U-lock over the shifting cable.  Oops.  Easy fix, anyway.)

Second time, I rode out to the five-mile mark before turning around.  It is so, so, so beautiful out there.  There are different micro-ecosystems you pass through:  a forest, views of Payne’s Prairie, a sawgrass field, a hammock… and that was just the first 5 miles.  The trail is 16 miles long.  Next time (tomorrow, most likely) I’ll drive out to Hawthorne to try the eastern end.  It’s supposed to be flat, and I want to see how far I can go.  Eventually I would like to be able to ride the whole thing, all 32 miles of it, in one go.  I think it won’t take me too long to get there.  I mean, I can already do ten miles, and that’s the hilly part, and it was only my third bike ride so far.

My last ride, yesterday, was near my house.  Eight miles total.  Before I got a bike I was terrified to ride on roads, but yesterday I started on the sidewalk and then noticed how nice and wide the bike lanes were, and how little traffic there was…  Definitely easier than riding the sidewalk.  Although I wouldn’t do it in the dark, even after I get my lights for it.  Not that brave…

Right near my apartment is a scenic road a lot of Serious Cyclists like to ride on.  They all ride at the same time I like to ride or walk, so I’m used to seeing them every morning just after dawn. They ride the GHT, too.  They all have road bikes and are stick-skinny and go really fast.  I don’t want a road bike, I don’t want to dress all in Lycra and weave through traffic, but I can’t help but feel like a kid on a tricycle.  I got a basket for my handlebars, to carry my water and stuff in, and it’s very practical, but… kid on a tricycle.  Ugh.  I’m going to get a serious-looking commuter bag instead so I don’t look like such a dork.  Not as convenient for me as the basket, but I won’t feel as self-conscious…

Anyway.  I’ve ordered a pair of inexpensive padded shorts, because the only thing stopping me from riding every day is that my vulva gets sore every time I ride.  It’s getting easier, but if the shorts work I’ll buy a couple more pair so I can ride daily.  This morning I went for a walk, like I did every morning before getting the bike, and it was so boring in comparison.  I’m definitely hooked on cycling.

Divorced and cycling

On Tuesday, Sept. 6th, 2016, at 9:15am, I became a single person again.  So, so glad.  My ex was upset because her mom, my mom, and I were chatting happily while we waited for our turn before the judge.  We were making plans to see one another, gabbing about family and stuff, and completely ignoring Ex.  My ex-MIL likes me better than she likes her own child.  I should feel bad about that, but I don’t.

The day after, I went down to the local bike shop my sister likes, Bikes and More.  I’ve been eyeing a new bike for a while now.  I had a GT Aggressor hybrid and hated it, so I didn’t ride it for years.  At the shop I ordered a 2017 Raleigh Circa 1.

Circa 1 manufacturers photo

Circa 1 manufacturers photo

I picked it up yesterday.  The salesperson took me on a short ride to test my settings.  Several adjustments later, I was good to go.  It’s weird to not have my butt on the seat when I’m stopping and starting, but I’m getting the hang of doing it the right way.

This morning at 7am I went for my first real ride.  5.68 miles, fastest mile 9.0mph. So not terribly long or fast. Lots of fun though. Hopefully my crotch will stop hurting enough I can do it again tomorrow. (The seat is comfortable, I’m just not used to biking.)

It was more of a workout than I’d had in ages. I’ve been walking at least 3 miles a day, if y’all remember. I did it fast enough to get my heartbeat around 125bpm average, topping out at 142 or so. With the bike I got to about the same, but it was using very different muscles. And more of them! I wasn’t expecting to feel it in my biceps. My core is also achy, which is awesome. I need that.

I did have to double back for my helmet, having forgotten it.  I was a little shaky at first, but then it was like flying and I was in love.  I have some technique stuff I need to work on.  Besides starting and stopping more smoothly, I need to remember to pedal with the ball of my foot and not the arch.  And get better at stabilizing with one hand so I can make hand signals more easily.  But yeah, it was awesome.  Happy divorce to me!

Fan fiction through the lens of schizoaffective disorder

Until my breakdown at age 23, I read a shitload of fiction.  I’ve always been a big reader, but back then it was mostly novels.  After I started recovering enough to read again, I found I could only read non-fiction.  And I’ve figured out over the years why I can read some things but not others.

I don’t trust my brain.  I can’t.  For too many years it lied to me about what was and was not reality.  Novels require too much imagination.  I get lost.  It makes me deeply uncomfortable.  So instead I took up weird history books, because history is (more or less) true stories.  I still get to enjoy a good tale, but it’s a tale based in reality.

But about a year ago, I discovered I can read fan fiction.  It was a huge breakthrough for me.  It doesn’t require as much imagination, you see.  I already know what the characters look and sound like, because I’ve seen them in comics or films or television shows.  I know how the rules of their universe work.  I know they are played by real people.  So I can lose myself in fanfic, because I don’t completely lose myself.  Fanfic leaves me an anchor to the real world.  And I adore it for that.

I can also read comics for the same reason — I can see the characters and their world, so I don’t get lost.  I don’t have to trust my brain to fill in the imagery, because it’s right there on the page.  I read a fair amount of comics these days, but most of them are short reads.  For long reads I like novel-length fanfic works, if they’re written well.  And many are.  Ao3 has been a lifesaver, in terms of new reading material.

Sometimes I try to read regular novels.  I do.  But it’s incredibly difficult for me.  I’m so lucky I have other options.  Because stories are wonderful things, and I’d hate to not be able to read any at all.

Energy is back!

Since my last post, I went back up on my Trintellix.  (Which used to be called Brintellix, but it sounded too much like some other drug — Brillenta, I think? — so they recently changed it.)  I am happy to report more energy and more Getting Shit Done.  In the last two days, anyway.  It’s a start.

I have a skirt.  It’s ankle-length and black.  My sister got it for me yesterday at Target, as I’ve had the weird urge to wear one lately.  I put it on with a black T-shirt and my purple Docs, and I didn’t feel even slightly feminine.  Gender-bendy as fuck, instead, which is exactly what I wanted.  I look transmasculine/androgynous even with the skirt on.  It’s lovely.  It really brings home my personal definition of genderqueer: my brain leans more towards female even though I feel gender dysphoria about my body and want it to be a cis male’s.  “Gender dysphoria” is a misnomer, really.  My gender is fine.  I am very happy with it.  It’s my body that’s wrong.  So shouldn’t it be called “sex dysphoria” instead?  At any rate, I want to paint my fingernails and toenails black sometime soon.  And buy some boxer briefs to wear under the skirt.  Thigh chafing hurts.

Hurricane Hermine: why didn’t they call it Hermione?  It would have been so much cooler that way.  Anyway, we lost power several times during the night, but it always came back on within ten minutes or so.  My mom’s room is in the back of the apartment, and mine at the front; our rooms are the same size, as are our windows, but the placement of the rooms meant she couldn’t hear anything but rain.  I, on the other hand, spent all night listening to howling winds try to break my window.  It wasn’t scary, just annoying because I was trying to sleep.  If it had been daytime I would have enjoyed the sounds, but by two in the morning I was ready to get out my isolation headphones.  (I wasn’t the only one listening to the storm.  Several of my local friends were also awake and posting on Facebook at that hour.)  We weren’t damaged, our cars weren’t damaged (despite being under a giant tree), and we didn’t even lose internet for very long.  A lot of locals got it worse; when I went to get my hair cut Saturday, there were women there talking about not having their power back until that morning.

And now, for some goth shopping: Joanns has these cool 16″ vulture skeletons and I want one so bad.  Or the owl ones, the owl ones are badass, but more expensive.  I don’t want them enough to pay $30-40 for one, but damn they’re cool.

Boneyard Vulture at Joanns

Oh fuck, just looked at their site, to get a pic to share, and their Halloween stuff is 40% off.  It can go next to the head-on-a-silver-platter, which still resides on my bedroom dresser.  That really was a good idea, I think.  Which reminds me, I still need wall art for my room.  I should probably get that instead of the vulture, but I can buy art posters all year round.  Ooh, they have a small tombstone for $4.  My dresser is going to look awesome.  My wallet always hates me in the fall, because ALL THE HALLOWEEN STUFF!!!

One other little DIY project I want to do is get a bendy black Halloween spider and make it a tiny bit of knitting-in-progress and bend the front legs so it looks like the spider’s knitting.  I’ll give it teeny needles and everything.  Maybe stick it on a black wreath for the front door.  Spiders spin, and mine will knit as well.  Maybe the knitting will be from that fake cobweb stuff?  Oooooh.

Oh oh oh — I can buy fake black roses this time of year, too.  Neeeeeed.  Okay, shutting up about Halloween goodies now.  But when Eris (my kleptomaniacal black kitty) starts walking around the house with a black rose in his teeth, I will totally be taking photos.  (And, if they’re any good, using them as profile pictures in my online haunts.)

Knitting: the green and black shirt continues, in off moments.  My main project is place mats for the dining table.  They are bright yellow, in a basic basketweave pattern.  When Mom and I moved into this apartment, most of her decorating stuff was blue and yellow so we stuck with it.  Happily, the paintings on the walls look like Tim Burton took drugs (happy ones) and painted them.  So at least a little of the living room is to my taste.

Spinning, weaving, and sewing: haven’t done any of it since the last post.

Cello: not since Monday or so.  As I said, I’ve only been feeling better for two days.  Mom just left for a party, though, so I’ll play while she’s gone.  I feel weird about playing with her here, because I feel like it has to be annoying to hear me play the same thing over and over.  Especially when it’s the same three or four notes over and over…

Okay, enough babbling.  I think I need to go buy a vulture skeleton now…