What I want

On the bus-

I love the front seat on the upper deck of the bus. I never tire of it, as we judder and clank round Blaenau Gwent Road or past the landfill, looking down at the houses and cars and across the fields and valleys. “You see things differently from up here” said the woman. Yes. She was telling her friend about her relationship: “I’ve been alone for so long- six years or more”. Her new man has been very silly with debt. “I just don’t talk to him for a couple of days, and he comes running.”

“If I fall on the stairs don’t laugh” said the friend. The other caught my eye and smiled shyly- and stopped seeming a threat. When she got off the bus she told the driver it should have a lift, and he agreed. Risking them hearing my maleish, trans voice, I joined their conversation: “You could have a vacuum tube thing, to suck you upstairs,” I said. “And a fireman’s pole to come down.”

“That would be fun,” she said, smiling again.

That is what I want. Human contact, finding how we think and feel alike, and joking together. Hugs and cuddles are nice too. Last night I was back in the thick of old anger and misery, of how I had wanted a friendship with Emma and she had at first seemed enthusiastic then snubbed me and how I had not understood why the change. Feeling connected and hearing warmth and then, not. And the same recently. Not understanding makes it worse.

What else do I want? To avoid situations where I feel out of control or threatened. The prospective interview at the DWP about the “support available to me”- trying to find ways of stopping my benefit, so that I must support myself- frightens me. Working terrifies me. If I am to change this I need sympathetic holding and tiny steps. So- “To feel I am doing something worthwhile”? No, actually.

I loved walking in the sunshine on Monday.

In the Autumn I would have been judging this. I am not, now. I might have been less sure of it, or conflicted about it, and am not that either.


I do not have to justify this to you, but it reassures me to justify it to myself.

I am Abigail. I no longer deny and suppress that, completely beyond consciousness; then I loathed, despised and feared it, and do not now do that, either; my contempt and anger at being Abigail, being that feminine, soft, gentle, peaceful, being who I am, lessened: now I do not even regret it.

I have emerged from a lifelong battle, and I am exhausted.

And the ways I have of understanding other people grew in the complex of lies I introjected to despise my natural organismic self; and they do not work. Being so intelligent, I pursued the impossible goal of understanding others: one may only know them.

I have had difficult experiences, and I fear the world. Then I read of the DWP’s deliberate programme of sanctions with the intent of destroying the benefits system as a safety net for vulnerable people. “There will be wars and rumours of wars”- the world has often been worse- and still I fear it.

And I rejoice that I feel that fear, and do not hate or reject it, and am not bullying myself, now, to fucking get on with it!!!

I am Abigail! At last, I am Abigail, and how cool is that?


The man who accused me of being “condensating” is now one of my myths. The claimant had been a heroin addict, and had had her children taken away. Yet she had come off heroin, and they were now living with her. Probably, her claim was not granted because the TCO did not believe her, though they did not say that. I felt she had accomplished a great achievement, though still in a vulnerable state- just like me. I felt his great hostility, and my powerlessness, and it became a symbol for me of what my work was like: miserific, and pointless despite all my effort.

Marge was probably a more typical DWP HEO. She was completely fair and I could persuade her on occasion. In my work, I had some success. But I despaired. It might be good to come out of my despair. Perhaps I could.

Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Madame de Verninac

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