Thursday, 23 April 2009


Crushed but my life is far from a write off!
Today I shed some tears as my dilapidated much cherished old car, my Ford TARDIS which helped me travel through the gender barrier, far further than the 125,000 miles on the clock, to my final frontier, was finally consigned to the scrap yard in the sky.
I have been going through a bit of a wobbly patch emotionally, this week. I cannot determine if its external events or internal that are pulling me in all directions.
Life may have been easier if that guy had not driven soo close to me that he ended up crashing into the back of my car & pushing me off the nice comfortable path I was on, into a torrent of emotions. Life has a habit of throwing up new challenges.
I have always been a bit of sentimental old fool. In my previous existance I used to drive large bonneted cars, Ford Capri's, thinking they would help disguise I was not really a man. How phalically crazy was that thinking? Ten years ago I bought my cute little red Ford KA. It was much more to my girly taste & a symbol of acceptance. That dear little car, that hunk of metal, kept me & my family safe. Towards the last five years of its life during my darkest days, I had very foolishly driven it many times when I was too ill & distressed to drive safely. While the wheels on my life were all coming off, she kept on going. Never let me down. She was priceless to me.
I have struggled to keep going & my determination to drive on with building my new working life this week, resulted in me mentally crashing. It was just a blip but a bit disconcerting.
As much as I try to gently ease my self back to work all be it voluntary, my responsibilities as a carer for my parents are making things very complicated. There are barriers to be gently tested which due to our dependency on each other cause a degree of friction. My parents & I need our independence but we also love & need each other. There is now a degree of role reversal. I am perhaps guilty of being overprotective & out of misguided love o occasions smother them with love. There is still a great deal of guilt inside me at all I have needed to put them through. They cannot possibly be expected to understand what a person with my condition is going through.
Our lives are so enmeshed we have never really separated & although this is clearly not healthy for our relationship, we are blessed to still have each other. We love each other so very much but we also need our space sometimes. I cherish each moment I have left with them. I cannot ever envisage going back to full time employment while they are both alive. My anxiety is still a problem for me & I guess I will have to accept that will always be part of me.
I want to be able to get on & would like to be able to pay my way in the world again. I feel frustrated I am unable to contribute as much as I used to & would like to, to look after my family. Financially it is becoming a bit of a struggle to maintain two homes. Trying to find paid employment during a world wide recession with the baggage I feel I bring to any potential employer is a challenge. I am so grateful to be living the life I now lead & as I settle into my new life I am generally able to just get on, just be myself & that is the most wonderful thing.
Life has a habit of kicking me really hard sometimes just when things are going so well. Coincidentally this seems so often to be in three monthly cycles, which by chance coincide with an injection I receive to help reduce the ravages testosterone has on my body. I seem to suffer a reaction a few days later whose symptoms are like mild to severe depression & cause me to be very tearful. They only last a day or so but are quite distressing. I will never know for sure what really causes them. I had a bad episode this Monday hence the lack of blog activity. More importantly I was unable to carry out my volunteer duty on the Tuesday which is something which if I am ever fortunate enough to find paid employment simply cannot be an option. I felt awful letting the hospital down.
At the weekend I had a lovely trip to Port Lympne Zoo in Kent, with my art society friends. I took the photo above of two tiger cubs frolicking on a log. There was however one incident that really upset me. I cannot deny my past equally I do not want to have to wear it on my sleeve or have it shouted from the roof tops. A lot of my friends in the art group have known me in my other life & all have been supportive. There was a sad falling out which spoilt some special friendships a couple of years ago but time has healed the friendships a little, although they can never be the same. What upset me was being “outed” by references to my male past in front of some new members who had joined us on the trip. This was done by the wife of the couple who had caused such a sad rift between what were once such good friends. I naively thought our friendship had moved on but suddenly they changed. I did not want to make a scene & let it spoil my day but it hurt after being made to feel so accepted.
The aftermath of the crash I had still lingers on. My neck is almost healed but still prevents me keeping my head in the same position very long & has to be exercised regularly. Considering my car is a write off I was very lucky to only have this minor injury & so grateful no one else was hurt. I have had to deal with lots of phone calls which can be very confusing for both parties at times. I still cannot believe a major tourist attraction is considering me for a voluntary position as receptionists with my questionable vocalisation skills. The only company I have had transphobic behaviour from when I began the great paper chase of legally changing my name & informing everyone, was my car insurance company. The very people I have had to deal with far too regularly recently. They have been fine this time, I suspect they have something on their records about me. Visually I feel so much more comfortable now but my dysphoria still distresses me at times especially during phone conversations.
I had to finally agree a settlement with my insurance company today to formally write my car off. It was a pitiful offer but I had no choice even though I was a totally innocent victim. Poetic justice in a way because I had been pleading with my Dad to stop driving because he was not really safe enough & I was worried about him. Quite rightly he had wanted to keep his independence but I was afraid at what cost to my parents & the publics safety that may be. I cannot afford to replace my car & so my parents have kindly allowed me to use theirs, which is on its last legs & due for an MOT next month.
Our finances are very tight like everyone’s but we will survive. The small sum I had been squirreling away to pay for my longed for “pitch elevation surgery” to improve my voice & career prospects are now a dream which, like my dear old Ford KA car, are now well & truly “crushed.
Everything happens for a reason. I am none too sure there is much reason in my ramblings here but thank you so much for your time & kindness, if you have got this far.
I still have so much to be so very grateful for, my new life, my beloved parents & all my true friends.
Drive safely


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your car trouble Debbie. I hope your neck heals soon.

Talking on the phone is something that bothers me too. Sadly my new part time employer is pushing me to make ad marketing calls for one of his publications. At least he sees me as a woman but I hate making calls. I have to really push and concentrate on my female voice and it's not always successful. Getting "yes sir" can be crushing.

I've also been outed by my art colleagues at various functions. Like your situation many knew me before and now some of the new ones insist on referring to me as a male. (sigh) You have my sympathies. I often wonder if the fight to be ourselves is worth it all.

NickyB (aka the CFG) said...

Sorry to hear about your car ! (although that was a lot) of miles.
Being outed? Yeah, that sucks, and happens to me all the time. Folks at work usually think that *everyone* needs to know. So so wrong.
I hope your neck feels better soon, keep

alan said...

I'm sorry for the loss of "your ride", Debbie. I've sent far too many off for scrap through the years (worn out) and each time was like losing a friend. My Dad spent many years trying to convince me I couldn't keep them for pets...

That baggage you speak of is not yours, Debbie! It is theirs! I hadn't thought of it that way until reading your words, but it truly is! You are you and have every right on Earth to "be"!

I think often of your Dad, having spent so many years in a factory myself and starting in one that my grandmother and her sisters built B-25's in. Someday if you don't mind and he doesn't, you should get him to talk about those days and record him. Times before and times after as well!

Here there is an oral history program called "StoryCorps" that does just that and archives them. Someday they will mean much not only to you but to someone looking into that point in time! Your Mom no doubt has may stories of that era as well as after...


Anji said...

I'm sure that you will be able to unpick the recent knots that seem to have cropped up. I understand your feelings for your car, before I was married all of my cars had names (and definate personalities!) I think the reason these things have happened is to help you grow stronger!

Debbie K said...

Thank you for all your kind comments. I was feeling rather blue & full of self pity when I wrote this.

We all have a natural instinct to survive & if this is what we need to do, its worth it even though the cost can be very high. I so admire your creative talents, you have so much to offer the world.

Your recent vocal recordings were inspiring. As is your ability to juggle so many challenges all at once & keep going, even when you are feeling vulnerable. I guess I tried juggling too much for me this week. We are only human, like everyone else although sometimes you begin to wonder!

The suggestions you make as always are so thoughtful. I love the idea of recording some of my Dads life experiences. He has so many memories to share.

I have felt fragile & vulnerable all week. These challenges do make me feel stronger although perhaps I am clearly not as strong as I had hoped. Thanks so much to all your kind comments my spirits are lifting once more.