Festival unpost

No, I’m not going to write about the Edinburgh International Festival (in which I have sung in two concerts this year, with two remaining). Nor am I going to write about the Fringe (which I’m not going to see anything of, though I would have liked to have seen Harry Josephine Giles’s Drone and Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz). And I’m not going to write about the Book Festival (which I have been to and will be attending again) or the Book Fringe (where I saw and chatted to the inspirational Mia Violet). This is a festival unpost simply because I live in Edinburgh and festival season is inescapable (well, unless you actually move out for a month, as some people do).

It’s (once again) been a while since I’ve put finger to keyboard to write a blog post (unpost or otherwise). That’s partly because I’ve had so much going on. But it’s probably not true to say that I haven’t had enough time to write – it’s just that choosing what to write about next is too difficult. So I’ve largely confined myself to microblogging, i.e. spewing random thoughts on Twitter, usually inspired by other people’s random thoughts on Twitter.

But there are big ideas I want to write about at some point. I (still) have several blog-posts-in-waiting. In particular, I’d like to write about voice: about gender, speaking and singing, from both theoretical and personal perspectives. (I might even record some audio for that, if I’m feeling audacious.) I also feel it’s important for me to write something about my recent autism diagnosis. (I was formally diagnosed on 22 July 2019.) But that’s quite fresh, and it’s probably best to allow time to develop a little perspective.

Difficulty in starting (and stopping) tasks seems to be common among autistic people and ADHDers. So it’s not surprising that I put off beginning this unpost. But now that I’ve started, I remember that I do actually enjoy doing this kind of thing. It’s liberating to be able to write about stuff that’s on my mind without having to think about it too much or come up with a cohesive overarching structure. I do realise that it’s probably less enjoyable for you to read. I might worry about that if it affected more than a handful of people. (And you can always opt out – you have my express permission to stop reading right here, if you’ve got this far!)

Confession: I got a little distracted just then and went back to the last paragraph to tweak things a little (which ended up rippling through the whole paragraph – it’s not really in the spirit of the unpost, but never mind!).

Back to my train of thought, such as it was. Besides getting an autism diagnosis in the last month or so (time is a vague and nebulous thing for me, and I’m not about to delve into my calendar to check the chronology), I’ve also stopped my PhD, I’ve been without my headphones for a month while they were being repaired, and I’ve run out of money (which came as a bit of a shock, because money is a vague and nebulous thing for me).

The decision to stop my PhD was upsetting at first. I felt my life was coming to an end in a way, since so much of it has been tied up in being a student. But I think I’m getting more used to the idea, even if I have no idea what I’m going to do next (and autistic inertia – I presume – makes it doubly hard to move from my current state). The prospect of no longer being a student and perhaps having to be a freelance copy-editor until I drop dead led to me crying for the first time ever in a counselling session. (When I first went to a counsellor, I thought that’s what happened all the time!)

Not having headphones for a month wasn’t quite in the same league, but it wasn’t great either, after I’d got used to being able to shut out a lot of background noise that I hadn’t realised was wearing me down so much. It’s nice to be reunited with them.

The running-out-of-money thing is difficult. I have no income at the moment, and I do need to spend money on food. I told my mum that I was struggling financially, and she gave me (or lent me?) enough money to keep me going for another week or two. I’m getting some advice on Monday from a specialist financial advisor who works with autistic people. I just hope that will be useful.

My last counselling session came just after it had struck me that money was fast disappearing from my bank account. My counsellor assessed the situation as ‘dire’ and said I should prioritise food. She said I shouldn’t have lunch in cafés (although that’s my main form of quasi-social contact). She also said that going to my hairdresser was a non-essential expense. This was the second time ever that I cried in a counselling session. My hair, it seems, is particularly important to me (as is the social interaction I get from spending time with my hairdresser). However, yesterday I popped into my hairdresser and cancelled my appointment for three weeks from now. I’ll just have to put up with having crap hair for a bit.

On a more positive note, today I got a letter from the surgeon in Brighton who will be performing my vaginoplasty. I’d been concerned that I hadn’t heard anything, as I’d expected to meet him during the ‘summer’. Anyway, now I have an appointment for an initial consultation with him in Glasgow on 13 September. After that, I’ll know whether I need to have electrolysis on the surgical site (yes, ow!). And perhaps I’ll have some idea of when I can expect to have my operation. I will need to find someone willing to accompany me to Brighton when the time comes and to look after me to some extent during my recuperation. Difficult to think who that might me at the moment. A big ask of anyone.

So, in typical unpost fashion, the writing peters out and stops abruptly.

One response to “Festival unpost”

  1. Hi Anna! Really interesting (un)post, I like the meandering feel 🙂

    Just really sorry to hear about your various trials and tribulations – esp. the financial issues. It’s difficult when reasonably you should be prudent but making sure you don’t loose out on nice things that make you happy. On haircuts (which I also appreciate, having cut mine myself for a few years), perhaps there are colleges that offer them for free – by hairdressing students, as part of their degree? I know people who’ve done that (in London). Perhaps someone may offer to take you out for lunch some time – if you don’t mind the company. Sorry I’m too far away!

    Great news about the consultation with your surgeon, though. Best of luck!