I've just gotten back from a 2-day trip to Melbourne, in connection with my PhD. The first day was a "show and tell", where those who control the money at the AutoCRC get a look at what the PhD candidates they're so generously funding are doing. Basically, they've been acting on faith that we know what we're doing. This was our opportunity to show them that their faith was justified.
The second day was a workshop on "assertiveness", as the Ultimate Nerds, grad students, tend to be rather self-effacing - until they discuss their work.
The teacher decided that I was already assertive enough... funny that. I think part of it is hormonal. Right now I'm taking vast quantities of hormones to stop re-masculinisation, and the quiet, shy Zoe I became at the start of transition is long gone. Whatever the hormone is that's trying to masculinise me - and it isn't testosterone, my levels there are in a low female range - it appears to affect neurology too, to some degree.
And part of it is Darwinian. I'm assertive because in my struggles with the APO, I had to be. Not aggressive, quite conciliatory and trying to see their viewpoint, trying to get a "win win" and save the embarrassment. But in the end, their aggression was met with firm and implacable resistance. I couldn't be passive because I had nothing to lose.
Anyway, back from the flight, time to look at the 400+ e-mails in my in-box. That's not including spam, which is filtered out adequately, maybe a dozen, not more.
And some of the posts alerted me that Someone Is Wrong On The Internet again. So today's battles are over at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Right Side News.
Anyone who sees this mix as contradictory really hasn't grokked the surreal nature of the situation.