A few weeks ago, I took the bold step of quitting my job as a TA in College. I'm now planning a new business which will involve, among other things, bringing decent, uplifting coffees to customers at events and markets. I'm on the verge of something refreshing, invigorating and new. It's time to pause, breathe and take stock of things.
As a child, my fave story was Cinderella. It had a special significance and I hung on to reading that battered picture book way into my teens. It was a comfort blanket. Winnicott (if you're a counsellor) would call it a transition object.
Without a doubt, Cinderella happened. Last year I married Prince Charming in a Fairytale Palace. My beloved Manchester doesn't have one but the Britannia Hotel, Portland St. is a copy of the Fondaco dei Turchi Palazzo in Venice and will more than do. My husband, Mart Williams is TOTALLY Prince Charming. I'm a 'transhistoried' woman and an Encore Bride, I've dated a string of total A* holes and I know a true Prince when I see one!
There is a danger however in spending your life living in fairytales. You can miss enjoying it and worst of all, miss being the leading lady for real. The truth is, fairytales are encapsulates of all our experiences; commonalities relevant to us all.
A few weeks since I woke up abruptly realising I'd been Sleeping Beauty. Working as a TA for 19 years was not dissimilar to 100 years sleep. Wide awake now I'm aware that my talent for making someone's day and giving them insight is stranded through my life like a silver thread. It shone out occasionally in the classroom but got so muffled. It is difficult for people to forget your trans history. For some I would always be what they thought I once was. I grew to understand that tolerance was about a hundred million miles away from acceptance. As I grew disillusioned, I clung on to my job with my fingernails but also became a student again. I accepted less disposable income but began a process of winding my life back to where I could relive it as I needed to.
I love my fellow students. The first year of our Counselling Diploma course has given us all superpowers whether we chose to recognise it or not; the ability to read minds and reflect the contents back to others. I could use that power for good or evil, without a doubt. Whether I spend the next few years serving lattes to my world weary customers at 6.30 am or listening to their woes as a therapist, I will at least have (belatedly) woken up to using my superpowers for good as opposed to scarcely using them at all.
Becoming a counsellor and a barista are much the same thing. They both involve extracting the bitterness and creating something worthy and uplifting in the here and now. Here's to a new grind and changing people's lives with coffee and unconditional positive regard.