Friday, 26 November 2010

Wait a Minute Mr Postman...

Bright eyed and bushy tailed I approached my new job as a postman: I considered the thought of wandering through towns and villages delivering post long before I applied for the job and decided I couldn’t think of a better part time job. It would be a few notches above the retail work I’d previously done, that was for sure. I was convinced the job would go a little something like this...

“Those delivery offices are nasty places, though” a friend advised me cautiously. “They are?” I sort of side-stepped the advice and put it to the back of my mind.
It’d be fine.

In a small corridor I was surrounded by skin-headed, pierced, tattooed and furious looking men. I’m a tall person, and the truth of the matter is I’m probably a lot taller than most of the men there, but I find it difficult to describe how small they made me feel. I was Alice in Wonderland reaching for the bottle labelled “Drink Me” and downing the contents.

I was shrinking faster and faster, I would be able to fit through the tiny door at the end of the hallway that was the exit. I’d go through and never come back. I became a speck of dirt to those men. They spoke crudely to one another, and to me, making anti-Semitist, racist, homophobic and offensive remarks. No matter how loud I sang ‘Wait A Minute Mister Postman’ in my head it wouldn’t drown out their intolerance. These men were all working class, white and heterosexual. They knew nothing else. Tolerance and diversity were left at the door.

I felt like a child in there, it’s terrifying. I usually deal with a potentially depressing situation by exuding optimism, being bubbly and friendly to everyone, but here, it didn’t take a genius to realise that would only make matters worse. “Morning,” I said smiling. I got some grunts and a few dirty looks.

At this point I really did feel like Alice down that strange rabbit hole. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place, I felt like I could drown in my own tears- can you imagine the repercussions of that?

I’m not usually one who reacts badly to homophobia. I write and preach against it because I think it’s wrong; I’m rarely ever hurt by it. This was different. This was a whole different ball game. I was hiding who I was, hiding my sexuality. It became a secret again. I hadn’t treated it as a secret since I was 15. I got flashbacks to my teenage years and was reminded why I found it so difficult to come out. With this realisation I really feel for those who haven’t yet come out. After you have come out it’s easy to forget the hardships you had during that transition.

I feel terrified and threatened to be around these people even in a work environment. I feel this really sets the precedent for how homophobia really can hurt. If these remarks and attitudes make me feel like heading straight for the door and leaving a job I otherwise really like, there is obviously something terribly wrong.

I decided to send a message out to the Universe telling it how much I disliked working alongside these men and how low it made me feel. I hid behind a mask, I didn’t change who I was. I was merely acting.

Surely enough the next day, without me speaking a word I was moved to a section full of happy, respectable men and women. I have many more problems to iron out, but I have faith that the Universe will guide me through any rough patches and I’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Positive thinking can get you a long way; thinking negatively will never resolve a problem and will only make matters worse. Whatever trials you are facing at the moment just remember to keep your chin up and you’ll get by.

Just remember some things are impassable but nothing's impossible. ^^

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