Friday, 8 August 2008

The Good the Bad & the Ugly Part 1

The Good the Bad & the Ugly Trilogy

It has been quite an eventful week or so. I have been busy chasing Rainbows, been totally elated, drowned & my world thrown upside down like I was in a barrel going over the Victoria Falls of my last but one blog.

Like buses nothing turns up on my blog for ages & then four stories appear.

Part 1 The GOOD

My first day working as Debbie

Monday 4th August

Monday afternoon was my first ever volunteer duty at my local zoo as Debbie. It could not have gone better. I spent 4 hours there helping on the tombola/raffle. We had two thousand people in the park. Many of them were kind enough to buy tombola/raffle tickets which helped raise over £500 for our Amphibian appeal.
I felt ready to do this. I had dreamed of this day. Finally I could be my true self in a working environment. I was both very excited & also a little scared. For one so shy I still cannot believe how calm I felt.

After all I have been through this meant so much especially at such a haven. A haven that became a hell, 2 years ago, after I had a massive panic attack & ran out of the main entrance in tears, after all the victimization at my full time job & being unable to transition took its toll. Poignantly I was working with the same kind volunteer friend who witnessed me falling apart that sad day two years ago.

The only tricky bit was signing in at the information hut. The two volunteers on duty in the office knew Rob but not Debbie. I have got to the point where I thought I have gone through all the disclosure stuff but working in a place Rob had worked in for several years is a little complicated. I am conscious my voice is still not good enough & continues to sound too similar to Bobs but I still felt confident I would be accepted. Only once, when assisting disabled gentlemen to return his motorized wheel chair did I have some one get my gender wrong. I had to raise my voice to attract the attention of the duty manager to ask for his help & unfortunately he was not facing me & referred to me as mate. As soon as he turned round he apologized at his mistake.

We were rushed off our feet all afternoon. The incredible self belief I had together with the support I had from the lady who helps run the volunteers & my two volunteer friends who worked with me on the tombola/raffle, helped relax any initial anxiety I had. I am very conscious of not letting any one down. Representing a company, in a customer facing role with what to me still sounds too much like a man’s voice, was quite a challenge. If anyone were to say anything I was determined to just smile, say nothing & try to keep my emotions in check... I was never able to stand up for myself at work when things got too much for me. Armed with a self belief that I had earned the right to finally be my true self & be treated with equal respect as any one else, the afternoon was magical. I was accepted by every family, every person, every child. It was only a simple task & our customers were more interested in the cuddly prizes we had on offer than the lady holding the bucket of tickets but to me it felt like I had won the lottery. Children speak as they find & having been told by my parents people would disown me, throw rocks & chase me with burning torches if I ever transitioned, this was a huge positive step for me. My voice was quite sore the following day & the emotions of that day are still with me.

I have put my name down to volunteer again next Monday. It all seemed to go well & I have sent a message of thanks to the volunteer co coordinators. If they are happy with my performance I just hope all goes as well next time.


I have nearly completed my first proper painting in 2 years.

I found I could relax & paint like never before. My parents generously invited me to paint in their conservatory. It has really good natural light. My four legged friend nestled down beside me. My Mum & Dad were thrilled to see their daughter engrossed in her painting. I was painting in the bosom of my family.

My dysphoria was at the lowest level it has been for the last ten years. The scream had finally become a smile. My creativity flowed. There is an enjoyable part of the painting process where you start to pull things together. You become in harmony with the subject. If all goes well; after blocking in the main parts of the subject, by using their mid tones, what my appear at first to be almost cartoon like becomes alive. I was in Artistic Heaven. A creative place I had longed to be in for over two years. The painting called “First Steps” began to rise before me. Suddenly my brush was no longer a stranger. I could feel its every little step & co ordinate its movement. The little “Cheetah cub was up on his feet & walking. A brush with the wild & the wonderful!

Best wishes
A very Happpppppppppppppppppy Debbie


Anji said...

What a beautiful positive post. I'm so glad everything went well on Monday and as for the painting!!!

I've been checking back here regularly and didn't find this post until theis morning (Saturday), which is why I didn't comment earlier.

alan said...

Hooray for being able to find oneself in a creative endeavour! I used to take such joy in them, and these last few years all has become work...

And as well for the day volunteering! Something I feel guilty for not doing, yet have yet to find the hours in the day to get done what I need to, let alone more...