Pronoun Practice

As I’ve mentioned earlier, myr s is non-binary, and by request I’ve not talked much about their journey. The happiness I’m witnessing as we travel with them really does warm the heart.

The biggest problem has been training myself to use the right pronouns, in particular when talking to other people about them. I don’t need correcting often, and I usually catch myself first, with the interesting side effect of my being a lot more deliberate about how I talk to or about anyone.

In practice it means I’m using much more gender-neutral terms for everyone. I’m starting to use they and them when describing people in general, and use ‘folks’ instead of ‘guys’ as often as I remember. More effectively though I’ve started just using people’s names as interchangeably as general pronouns in that deliberate attribution of things and actions to specific individuals.

Its an exercise in relearning the use of language, but its in service of not being unkind, of accepting, and that’s never a bad thing.

Surprise!

We’ve been trying to arrange it for a while, but yesterday we managed to surprise Lady M with an unannounced visit by myr s and Lady B, and then consensually kidnapped Lord S to drag him away from his opera practice. In short order we then had most of the DDC in our flat, and never have we been so grateful for having so many sofas.

A motley crew? Us?

With advance knowledge of when they were arriving I was able to have the kettle going and suitably obfuscation their arrival so that myr s was able surprise Lady M with a massive bunch of flowers – and nearly launch her out of her skin. Saying Lady M can be startled easily is something of an understatement.

We exchanged various gifts, chattered away, and the afternoon sped into evening with barely a pause. Lady M, myr s, and I were also able to put on our rings for each other too – much delayed by lockdown.

It was just so good to finally get us all back together – some of us for the first time – and those of us who haven’t really been out much during lockdown I think at times found it overwhelming. Here’s to it fast becoming a more normal thing again.

A Long Week

Well, what a week that’s been, and there’s still more to go. We’ve had libraries reopening, the wait for an MRI still ongoing for Lady M, aches and pains, and life going on.

I can tell the Lady M is starting to feel a little more comfortable as she’s making noises about logging in to work again. I still see her getting very drained very quickly so we’ll see what her management say about some limited hours. Hopefully it will stop her brain exploding a while.

The library reopening has so far gone smoothly enough, with the public largely pleased to see us, even with the limited service available. It’s all new, and a bit odd, but its working. I’m back in on Friday and I know the time will just fly by.

And myr s has an amazing new haircut, having had their first experience of a barber’s shop. They also got a new job confirmed today that I think they’ll really enjoy, so a great day all round on their front.

I’ve even heard from the Charleesi, who is decidedly not resting on her laurels but is trying some freelance writing while the job hunt continues. She’s a grafter with a lot of talent and determination so there’s little doubt there’s success to follow.

And me? I’m exhausted, but there’s nothing new there. I’m worried for Lady M, and missing myr s something fierce, but we’ll get there in the end.

A lovely exchange

I got a bit carried away with some online retail therapy earlier following a conversation with myr s about needing to clean their chain maille collar, so could they swap to their lighter leather one for a while.

This was of course not a problem, and is a normal item of conversation in our dynamic, but it did put me in mind of getting something else as a lighter alternate collar. In part this would be a morale-booster for holding up so well under lockdown; and a lighter and looser token for hot summer days to come. A more gender-neutral appearing collar would also be a kindness with a regard to dysphoria.

And so I placed an order for a little something via Etsy, and was in short order contacted by the seller. A very sweet brief conversation then took place around some of the detailing of the piece. As a result, a slightly customised item will now be made in the next couple of days to ship by the end of the week. The maker was delighted to hear some of the whys and wherefores of the piece, and that extra element of love will no doubt be manifested in the final item.

Still in Limbo

Lady M is still in hospital while the doctors battle to get her condition under control. There are a number of opinions on the exact extent of the infection but surgery is being actively considered. We think the plan is to see if her condition has improved enough by the morning to decide how to proceed.

Not being able to visit is frustrating, but understandable, but we did get one bright moment in that the hospital was able to accommodate both myr s and myself as next of kin under the heading of partners. Its a small thing but it does make a difference.

People keep reminding me to take care of myself too, prompted in no small part in how I appear not to have slept in a couple of days. I’m keeping busy, but work have been very good as and when I’ve needed to slip away every now and then.

Onward!

Sleepy Day

My body decided that today was not going to be a productive day. I was up late chatting with mre S while I painted and streamed a couple of new images to go up on the store. Waking up while Lady M dived in to Staines to see the optician was therefore not an option my body wanted to contemplate.

That said it hasn’t been a totally unproductive day. There’s been hoovering and cleaning, the flying of Pride flags from the balcony, and the breaking of a second mirror in as many days.

So that happened. Oh, and I slept pretty much all afternoon as my muscles decided that hurting all the time was getting old and I needed to just stop and lie down for a while.

So that’s my Saturday…

Working Pride

Sadly with lockdown still wreaking havoc there’s absolutely no chance of getting to a Pride event this year, but at least through work there is an opportunity to celebrate a little.

I’m working as part of the LGBTQ+ Pride Network where I am, and this week has seen an invitation go up on the staff Jive network to post rainbows either as flags, themes, filters or whatever for Pride.

Cue one virtual Pride picture

Its only a little thing, but seeing everyone putting up posts is heartening. The rainbow Funko has been produced by them in support of Pride and the It Gets Better Project with part of the proceeds going to that charity.

So there’s a positive thing.

Rings and Things

Being separated is hard, but we’re doing our best to keep as chipper as possible. The DDC is helping lift our spirits and support all round, but its still no substitute for when we can get our polycule back together.

In theory, we can after relaxation of restrictions were announced, but given how high infections and deaths are – exceeding what they were when we went into lockdown – there’s a wariness of believing the UK government’s competence and motives. In some ways this makes it even harder, but we’ll get through and it’ll be all the better for it when we do.

In the meantime, I finally had delivery of a set of rings that the core triad of myself, Lady M and mre S wanted to adopt to signify our link. We had some issues with a lost shipment and needing to reorder among the chaos of lockdown, but we finally have three simple matching rings that are staying in their boxes until we can all get together. They’re enamelled steel with the polyam symbol etched and painted on them – simple, discrete, and one more reason to hope for better times to come.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday after an LGBTQ+ staff network Teams meeting about the DDC and our gaming group.

On describing the mix of characters and their quirks I was told that it was a group they’d love to read a novel about. I think thats a wonderful tribute to the invention and warmth of the players and their alter egos. My little writeups here barely scratch the surface of what a joy they are to DM and game with.

Corporate Queerness

Well, that was an interesting meeting. I signed up a few months ago to the fledgling LGBTQ+ Network at my workplace, and have since stepped up and got more involved with helping shape and run it. To that end we had a quick virtual meeting via Teams to start to thrash out the basic Values and Aims of the group.

This is based partly on the corporate aims and values for diversity and equality held in common working here, and looks at promoting wider sharing of information and practice among other things.

Along the way, people started dropping their ages into conversation around how different age ranges seem to prefer making social contacts. This ranges from apps, activities, social spaces, and the more traditional clubs and bars; and really emphasises again just how easy it can be to apply a wide brush to expectations that are then immediately subverted by individual experiences and expectations. It also revealed that I was the oldest person present, so to speak.

To quote Lady W as I recounted this later, this meant I was the oldest queer in the village. This amuses me, as I would in no way hold myself up as any kind of exemplar of queer experience in any community.

But there you have it – if need be I’ll be a voice for those who don’t feel they have the confidence to speak. There are worse roles I could take on.

DDC Shenanigans

Life continues to ebb and flow in its complexities, but the DDC continues to be a creative and entertaining source of comfort, support, and humour in all the oddness around us.

Our latest set of things has been creating quizzes and games to play through shared screens in Discord. Whoever is running the quiz sets up a PowerPoint document with questions and answers revealed in turn, while everyone works together to find the answers. Mre B created the template based on their running similar things with their friends, and myr s has taken up the baton to create rounds tailored to our various strengths and foibles.

Roughly once a week we gather of an evening to play. We start with general levity, and yet despite there not being any competition between players, there’s soon a very serious air as people try to identify TV theme tunes from sight reading music, interpret kinks by their formal clinical names, identify pop culture characters from pets dressed up as those characters, and puns based on shows where one character has been changed – and that was just for starters.

Lateral thinking, chat, and everyone trying to resist googling any answers – a fun combination that is proving as much a draw as the weekly Dungeons and Dragons session.

Oh, and then we used Roll20 to make a Trivial Pursuit board and grabbed four different sets to make a monstrous random hodgepodge of topics from Star Wars, Stranger Things, Harry Potter, and a general family edition. That got very silly, very fast. We’ll have to do that again…