#JusJoJan Daily Prompt – Jan 3rd – ‘Warning’

This post takes part in Linda’s Just Jot It Jan 

jjj-2017

I, and others that know me, used to joke that I should come with a warning label. I thought this was an amusing and lovingly assigned description of my character but in truth it was because I was a complete pain in the neck and at the end of my drinking days there was nothing amusing about me at all.

Today I am unrecognisable as that person, when people describe me now; ‘warning’ is the last label I would be assigned. People remark on my calm nature, yes I can be very excitable and hyper, the new born child in me is very evident, but I am a person in control of myself and a person you can trust yourself to be safe around. I still find this an astonishing change in just six short years of mental health and addiction recovery.

In order to develop this calmer nature, I have had to create a robust and sensitive early warning system, an inner lighthouse to alert me when a storm is arriving or when the sea may threaten to thrash me towards the jagged rocks of mental illness. I have had to become acutely aware of the various things that threaten my wellness and very good at noticing the early warning signs and to this affect, the inner lighthouse will change from shades of yellow through to amber and red depending on the threat of the situation

The last month or so I have been inundated with warning signs, my inner lighthouse had been brightly lit  as a solid amber, but due to Christmas obligations, I haven’t had much choice other than to just ride the waves as safely as I can with mindfulness. However, today the lighthouse switched on to full red warning alert as I attended my medical assessment for my sickness benefit.

Attending these assessments, as anyone who’s had them will attest, is never easy, but then add being transgender into the mix and the whole thing turns into a cringe making, anger inducing mess. I sat there bewildered as the assessor first got confused that I was a man about to change to living as a woman. After correcting him and after he had picked his jaw back up from the desk he then remarked that I made for, “a very convincing transition” and that he, “had seen other people who were not as convincing and I must be very pleased”, He went on to then ask me if I would like to be referred to as he.

Wow, warning light on full flashing red mode, sirens, bells, whistles, the whole shebang.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to sob, I wanted to just fall on the floor in a heap, curl up into the foetal position and let my whole body convulse with reckless emotional abandon, but I can’t cry, I just don’t, it doesn’t come out and I am not one to indulge in dramatic emotional displays, at least I am not today but six years ago I may well have done.  I’ve had enough at the moment, Christmas has been incredibly tough being my first one single after a really messy breakup, add to the mix having to sit with a total stranger and explain my entire mental health history, my entire addiction history and then intimate details of my dysphoria and gender transition, all crammed into less than 40mins, to someone that had the tact and sensitivity of an array of hedgehogs.

However, the painfully crafted warning system served me well, one of the skills I have learnt in recovery is knowing which battles to pick and this one just wasn’t worth it. I spend a lot of my time educating people and this chap needed it but today had to be about first things first, my mental health, and so I  took a deep breath, answered as politely as I could and just got through it.

Thank goodness for my inner lighthouse and its warning signs, for lighting the way so that I can choose the path of least resistance and just make sure I kept myself safe. Now though,i t’s time to drop anchor, hunker down for a while and wait for the storm to pass.

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7 thoughts on “#JusJoJan Daily Prompt – Jan 3rd – ‘Warning’

  1. Good for you getting through your appointment, Finlay! I can’t imagine what kinds of mazes you must have to traverse trying to weave your way through the uneducated. Reminding yourself the ignorance is not necessarily willful must be essential to your overall sanity in any situation.
    Thanks for the laugh, imagining an array of hedgehogs. 🙂 I have a feeling your sense of humour and, most of all, mindfulness, will get you through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A sense of humour is vital! Most ignorance is just lack of knowledge and as you say, rarely wilful which eases the sting, its just frustrating when it comes from a medical professional who really should know better, not necessarily about trans issues but in how to be tactful at least! Most times I can shake it off like a wet duck but yesterday was hard work. Today i took to some dance therapy and now feel lighter…and slightly achy in the glutes…..
      Isnt an array a lovely word for a group of hedgehogs
      Bless you!!

      Like

  2. Ah Lovey…big hugs my friend. You are an excellent writer; I do hope you manage a book or two one of these days. I am so pleased by your progress, but wish I could reach through my laptop to give you the biggest hug in the world, and also be present as someone you could just let it all hang out with. Please always feel free to contact me no matter how you’re feeling. You’re human; there are going to be some shitty moments, but as they say in AA “this too shall pass.” But while it is in the process of passing, please feel that I am someone you can talk to. Sending love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks sweets, well my memoir is halfway written and I have a couple of ideas for fiction books too….so watch this space! I seem to be finally letting out the writer in me and I love it. These daily prompt exercises are really helping. t means I write things I may otherwise not have written.
      Thank you for your kindsness, always, this has been an rather lengthy and unexpected slup and I know it will pass….just wish it would hurry….but that would be disrespectful to the time fairy….
      mwah!!! x

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  3. Dear Finn
    As someone who works on public sector in a similar field I am dismayed
    My manager although she doesn’t admit it always assigns me to work with lgbt folk
    I think part of her thinks that I would t stuff it up I hope I don’t it’s hard enough for people

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is dismaying isnt it? I think its very good that your manager is aware, though of course it would be good to have training for all so that its not just left to those in LGBT circles. Its not rocket science really is it? This chap should have looked at my notes before hand and should have considered the weight of his words, especially as i was sitting in front of him as a person with mental health challenges. To be told I was “convincing” was just such an awful turn of phrase, it felt as if he was saying that I was someone being very good at pretending to be a man, that as a woman I made a very convincing man. Just awful and it was hard to just sit there and say nothing, but it would not have served me well to do so.

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