Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Another landmark stage on my journey begins

Today started with heartbreaking emotions. The roller coaster that is GD has started on a downward path. After being so high it had to happen. My poor Mum was struggling this morning. Bless her its so hard for her. I could see she had been crying. The poor love had bloodshot eyes & tear stained cheeks. I quickly joined her & we just sat there, shattered & entwined with love. Its hard to say good by to her son, even though I am still here. My dear Mum, needs love & reassurance & its breaking all our hearts.

Why oh why do we have to hurt the very people we love & care for so deeply? It feels so selfish. We all feel so vulnerable & need a hug. I guess to move forward we must sadly also sometimes experience fear & pain.

This painting is over 12 years old. It is child like & simplistic but it captures for me what living with gender dysphoria can do to a loving family. The heartache & the joy. If you have personally experienced the tsunami like emotions GD brings to our lives it may not need any explanation. My heart goes out to each & every one of you, my friends. None more so than dear Jo. Having read your sweet message to me this morning I have no tears left to give.

For those who kindly visit here & are perplexed at this surreal scene I will try to explain the emotions that went into its creation:-

It was painted at a time when I had gone back to painting for the first time since I left school. A time of great change & wondrous emotions as the glorious effects of hormones coursing through my body turned my world of drab feelings into vivid technicolour dreams. A time when I finally had the courage to share my condition with my beloved family.

The right hand side is quite dark & represents confusion, denial & turbulent life changes. The rocks represent our little family, Mum, Dad & me. They came to me through memories of the "Three Sisters" rock formations I had seen a few months previous during a trip to the the Blue mountains just outside Sydney Australia. A far off land that seemed a million miles away, just like my journey would seem. The rocks show a single tear forming on each of them to represent the many tears we would (have) share on the journey. The burning flames represent us never being able to return to our previous life. The heavy price of disclosure, that I felt I had so selfishly handed to my family. The nightmarish "Scream" figure is based on the Munche painting & needs litle explanation. The lightning strikes represent the pain GD brings.

The cartoon stork represents my rebirth, as it flys off into the distance to deliver a new born child. Quite where it would end up was a mystery to me.

The left hand side represents the incredible feelings I experienced. The star represents the beautiful uplifting emotions that I felt at finally beginning my long journey, which may be referred to as transition. I simply could not live without the magic that those hormones brought to me. I felt more alive than ever before. I felt things so much more deeply. The highs & the lows. I was just so lucky to be able to have them.

The girl represents a dream like, romantic fantasy figure, full of great emotions. I so wanted her to be me. One day, please God make her me. She was setting off on a great journey that was both exciting but also tinged with some sadness at the passing of a dear friend. He had been a life long friend & would never ever be forgotten. She has thrown a rose covered wreath into the raging sea for her lost friend.

That friend was me. There is a ghost like image of a drowning man waving to her as he slips beneath the waves. That figure haunted me, bless him. He led an invisible life. Like a stranger always playing my part. No one could see the real person trapped in his soul, until now. Thank God. I hope & pray we can all be in a more peaceful frame of mind now, but who knows what lies ahead.

Today it feels like I am truly am about to say good by to Rob for one last time. As well as escaping to this therapeutic blog I have been preparing reams of paperwork & information, ready to inform various authorities & companies that I have legally changed my name & that in future my name will at last be true to my heart.

That day, once I have dried my tears & composed myself has finally arrived.

A day of celebration & tears
Good by Rob, my old friend

I 'm still here.


Josephine said...

Oh honey...

Your poor Mum.Poor you. Hugs hugs hugs.

Why do we have to hurt the ones we love? Beats me. And yet, and we hurt them, or do they hurt themselves? I so don't meanb that to sound harsh. But it's not a subtlety. It's about whose feelings we are responsible for.

If it was simply us creating all this pain, as if we had just left some random emotional bomb off, then the hurt would be indiscriminate. Everyone would hurt wouldn't they? Reactions would be the same from everyone?

But that doesn't happen. Some cope, some don't. Some don't look like they'll cope, and then do, and vice versa. Ultimately, we cannot do anything about how they feel, and how they process the information in front of them. All we can do is provide new information, and reaffirm important things.

Your new information:

You are and must now be Debbie
You are and will be much happier because of this

Your reaffirmations:

You love your Mum and Dad
You always will
Nothing has changed inside

It's all you can do. But just keep doing it, saying it, showing it. Gradually, gradually...

Your Mum will have good days and bad days. So will your Dad. But be true to yourself. Show them that you still love them, show them that the Rob who was there is not a different person to Debbie. This is what they fear, I sense? They relied so much on Rob...the things inside Rob that they looked to for support and care haven't gone anywhere have they?

Loads of love x

Debbie K said...

Thank you Jo

Dam I'm crying again. I need to be strong but I feel weak. Am I happy or am I sad?

Wobbling a bit I guess, its just a litle bit scary right now. I feel a long way up & I made the mistake of looking down, instead of straight ahead. That negative voice is so sneaky I never heard it coming.

I cannot be responsible for how they feel, your right. I am struggling to deal with the finality & what feels like selfish joy that lays before me. I will be ok I promise. I need to be strong to look after them & I will.

I am Debbie
I love my Mum & Dad.
I love my friends.
I feel calm again.
Bless you

Dee Harris said...

Debbie hun,
I had exactly the same pressures as you to NOT transition and I struggled for years to find the right way forward. In the end I decided my parents would rather I transitioned than have the joy of identifying my body and I was right. Of course they struggle and we have better and worse days but the strength of my commitment has helped as I'm certain it does for you. Ultimately we just have to do what is right for us and while we try our darnest to bring those we love with us they can't be allowed to stifle you anymore. (But then you know all of this don't you). So looking forward to giving you a big hug on Friday xx

Jessica Hart said...

I don't think I've read such a from the heart commentary for a long time, maybe even ever, Debbie. Wow. You have a gift with your art and writing.

Anji said...

When I looked at your painting I saw it all, your explanation confirmed it. I'm the mother of two boys and I admit it would be hard, but I've always told my children that I will always love them whatever they do and would hate them to be too afraid to tell me something. Please give your mum a hug from me!

It's lovely you are finding blogging therapeutic. You'll also make some wonderful friends on your blogging journey. It's hard for people who don't blog to understand.

Good luck with the paperwork as you cut the rope that holds your boat to the familiar shore and drift away into your new life.

alan said...

It's those last 3 words I'm happiest for!

My world is a better place with you in it!


Doris said...

Oh my Lord .... I have come to this message late and you have written since and dried your tears whilst I shed a few now. Such an incredible painting with such depth that you didn't need to explain what you wanted to say but I am so glad that you did.

Your birth has been so very long and painful that I do find it a wonder that you have stayed with it and survived. It is a privilege to be here on the outskirts, standing in the crowd with a wet handkerchief in my hand wiping away the tears of joy, happiness and poignancy hugging myself with delight and excitement as you evolve, blossom and rise from the ashes. And cheering you on too :-)

Debbie K said...

Thank you my friends.
I tried not to read these again today as I new the way was feeling I would only start crying again.

So much to do today & like a child been told not to do something I just could not help myself.

I do not feel worthy of all the kindnes you have shown me & I just had to check if it really happened.

I read your replies one last time & suprise, suprise I just burst into tears again.

You all say the sweetest things.

Just as well I had not put my face on.

My concentrations all over the place. My thoughts awash with emotions.

I must go now
Bless you all

Doris said...

"I do not feel worthy of all the kindnes you have shown me"

.... but you can paint halos in the sunlight. I can't even paint and you can paint halos in the sunbeams.

Respect to you.

Debbie K said...

Dear Doris
You are more than worthy of my humble kindness.
I did not tell you earlier as I did not want you blaming yourself for my tears, but it was your heartfelt remark at the bottom of this page that burst the dam that was holding back my sea of emotions.
Your generous sweet words, your love, are that warm & powerful.
Thank you honey for setting me free. You somehow gave Debbie the courage to be free.

Love to you

Doris said...

Hi Debbie

May I go completely off-topic and just ask you about your art? I've been coming back everyday just to look at this picture in its big size and to enjoy the details. Each time I look I see more.

By the way I'm a thwarted artist with no intentions of doing anything about it because the time well and truly passed. During my O level days I was put (by my parents) into all the highbrow subjects so that I didn't do anything like drama or art. And even PE had to be "high status" squash! So I only got to admire from a distance the talent on the walls in the art department and wonder at some of the skills.

I really get and enjoy the Impressionists and their playing with light. And I love the classics with their almost photo real paintings and their skills with painting what they actually saw.

And back to your painting I am really wondering... I did wonder if some of those auras on the painting were artifacts from photographing or scanning the painting because they are so perfect. But there are clearly painted-in bubbles too and I wonder how you can see the bubbles to paint them? What I mean is that the brush strokes seem to be imperceptible and then the colours change as if they are being seen through a bubble and the outline of the bubbles and the auras are perfectly round. Is there a special artistic algorithm that says reduce the colour by a certain amount or something? Or some sort of tip that says, oh they're easy just do this and that?! They can not be easy and whilst you say the painting is child-like and simplistic I would agree but only in some places and then that is the charm of it. I love the girl with her gorgeous frock with petticoats fluttering in the wind.

I'm afraid the central character of Robert saying goodbye doesn't get me in the same way as it rightly means to you but that's because the past and future aspects are most striking. With the haunting past full of darkness and fear, standing on those cliffs in the past looking out to the sea, watching the ships go by into a wonderous far away land of colour, light and serenity. And then clearly it is your turn. It is you on the bow of the ship with a nod of respect to the past going off into a better place. The sun represents such joy and sustenance. Hope, life giving and rightness.

I wonder though, there is a bubble at the end of one of the sun rays. Or the sun ray is piercing the bubble. It is overlapping the cliffs, to the left of the three statues. And of course there is a bubble in front of Robert and the three statues. Do you remember what the bubbles represent?

No hurry, and only if you feel like saying a bit more. I needed to say all this so thanks for "listening"!

So good to hear you are feeling so much brighter and I hope that ship can whisk you away soon.... with you at the bow with glorious frock in the gentle breeze and your two elderly parents happily in deck chairs on the sun deck smiling and holding full glasses up to you in cheers. :-)

Debbie K said...

Dear Denise
You know only to well from experience honey. The choice our parents have is that brutal in the end. I soooo enjoyed meeting you this Friday. I will be thinking of you on Monday as you go back to work full time for the first time, as the sweet person you were always born to be.

Dear Jessica
Thank you for your lovely comments. I have always been brought up to be totally honest even though I actually lived a lie. Your thoughts are never rambling. They are always intelligent, perceptive, classy & good humored.
Everything here is from my he-ARt!

Dear Anji
I am sure you must be a wonderful Mother. A mother’s love is so precious & should be unconditional. What responsibility you have. If you are a good Mum you are there to nurture us & protect us. You give us life the most wonderful gift of all. You help us grow & then after all that you have to let us free to learn about life & make our own way.
I shall give my dear Mum a hug from you.
I have already made some wonderful friends on your blogging journey. I had no idea what blogging was really about until I experienced it for myself.
Perhaps I could make a boat out of all the paperwork I have to do but it is nearly all done now. With luck & the kind support of friends like you, I will enjoy discovering the new experiences my life will have to offer.

Thank you Alan
My world is definitely a better place with you in it!


Debbie K said...

Dear Doris
OMG I have just read your blog I think I have Furstjewnitis too.

Of course you can go completely off-topic and just ask you about my art? I am so pleased you are enjoying my paintings. You have a creative talent there. The lovely thing about art is that any one can do it & at any time in their lives. As long as they enjoy it & also have the time. It is never too late & besides, you are only a youngster. I would be thrilled if I inspired you to try. Just once for me? You never know until you try.

How could anyone let there parents opinions dictate what they do with their lives? LOL.

You said”I really get and enjoy the Impressionists and their playing with light. And I love the classics with their almost photo real paintings and their skills with painting what they actually saw”.

Well so do I. One of the most important lessons the wild life artists who inspired me told me, was that the key to a good painting was to always have good lighting. He always tries to create a sense of lights & darks, to give his work more drama.

Another secret was that he nearly always paints from photographs to obtain his realism, the incredible details that just look so right on his work & make it seem far more than just a photo. With Animals always being on the move & unpredictable, it is really difficult if you want to achieve a realistic likeness. He does not copy the photo entirely he uses it for reference & adds his creativity to the mix to make it uniquely his creation.

I am really embarrassed about you spotting all those lovely bubbles. I shall let you into a little secret. I hurriedly took the photo of the original painting on the floor in my flat under artificial lighting. It was far from perfect & the flash came on my camera. Normally I like to record my recent work outside in natural sunlight. The image I found I had captured was far from perfect. Personal pride (this picture was right at the start of me painting again 12 years plus ago) caused me to decide to enhance it just a little on Adobe photo shop. The star/sun in particular was somehow dulled by time & so I am ashamed to say I enhanced it with my limited computer knowledge using something called lens flare. I feel awful I have never deliberately manipulated one of my images by computer before & the one time I have your excellent observational skills spotted it. I did not have the time to check the image. All I was attempting was to liven up the star & make it brighter. See you really should be painting!

This painting truly is multi-media. It was originally mainly water colour. Than gouache, then I added some acrylic paint & even luminous felt tip pens around the scream character. So 12 years on I seem to have unintentionally added yet another media to it. I am so sorry your interpretion & interest in them leaves me really embarrassed.

I am so sorry.
There is no magic brush technique just a piece of software. I did not want to tamper with the original which is obviously of great sentimental value. My painting is as it has always been in reality, child like. I hope that does not detract from my art too much. Please forgive me.

Ironically I read an article somewhere about some artist called Jake & dinos Chapman who run a fancy gallery in London gallery & have bought some very bland original water colours by Adolf Hitler & added rainbows & bright logos to the back grounds. They were claiming their deliberate vandalism of the originals added something to them & said much about what they thought about the evil artist Hitler’s & his drawings. They claimed it was not just a sick publicity stunt. Probably the most appropriate form of vandalism ever seen.

And back to my painting, trying to change the subject away from my computer forgery. The girl with her gorgeous frock with petticoats fluttering in the wind, is probably my favorite part for obvious reasons. Her brightly coloured clothes & femininity are in direct contrast to my feelings about men’s drab attire & my gender.

I love they way you have looked at my work & formed your own interpretations. "The sun represents such joy and sustenance. Hope, life giving and rightness." Thats how I feel right now.

You ask “Do you remember what the bubbles represent?”
My humiliation! I will never look at a bubble again without thinking about you discovering my naughty secret. lol

I have been honest & taken my time in humbly replying to your question. I always enjoy reading your kind words.

None more so than when you said ”So good to hear you are feeling so much brighter and I hope that ship can whisk you away soon.... with you at the bow with glorious frock in the gentle breeze and your two elderly parents happily in deck chairs on the sun deck smiling and holding full glasses up to you in cheers”.

What a sweet & beautiful thought on which to finish.

Debbie K said...

I am rather superstitious & so having 13 comments on this post made me nervous, so I had to post this.

Doris said...

LOL Debbie Dear! I am not disappointed at all, and am simply chuckling :-) It's just the sort of thing that I would get caught out on and so this is a great lesson for me! If my finding out does not dampen my enthusiasm for your artwork then I can transpose those feelings to what other people might feel about me when they find out something about me. If that makes any sense.

So, I am still laughing. But good on you for bringing another media into your already multi-media painting. And that explains the perfectness of the halos and bubbles. And I think I shan't look at another bubble again without fondly thinking of you!

And then I come back to the gauntlet you have thrown down to me .... if I do some artwork I'll let you know. Actually, I bring art (of sorts) into everyday life. For example, I like putting together small montages of photos into moving slideshows together with carefully chosen music. I think that is artistic and I get great comfort from it. Not the same though but I am OK with that.

I hope your Furstjewnitis soon passes!