Dress code

I’m writing another job description, thanks to the Lottery we’re going to be looking for a project coordinator very soon, and the drive in today got me thinking (always better than listening to the news) about our staff handbook and how Chrysalis should work towards promoting freedom of expression, body positivity and authenticity.

Coming out as a Goth is still one of the hardest coming outs I have ever done, I’ve known I was an alternative all my life, the other realisations have come later as I have added language and understanding to my own self-concept. A weekend in London got me to thinking about how the world has changed over the decades, how much more respect there is for individuality, how much easier it is now to walk down the street looking different and how much I value my own and others individuality. Our ability to define ourselves.

I know the world isn’t a great place, I know that sometimes it seems as if we are going backwards and the media echo chambers and adversarial reporting just show us conflict, but I do strive to take a more balanced view. A view where I can see societal change, I can see hope, I can see a time when everyone has Pride in who they are, when all people are valued as individuals and society is strengthened by that diversity.

I can see a time when LGBT+ people aren’t used as whipping toys for politicians trying to score cheap points. Because I am seeing change. I am seeing increasing gender balance, I am seeing less pointing and staring and rocks being thrown, I am seeing a country changed by the Equality Act and one which is still changing. One where standing up for your friend doesn’t mean baring your fists but instead calling someone out, being an ally, getting up there and using your platform to fight for the rights of others.

All of which leads thinking about dress code. Should we have one? How can one word it to accommodate personal choice and freedom of expression yet also provide reassurance to those new to Chrysalis? Humn, one of the benefits of sitting in traffic, and not listening to the news, is thoughts crystalise. Perhaps that’s the wording, everything else is trust. So Chrysalis people who like to be given boundaries for your workspace what does this wording sound like: Chrysalis respects everyone’s right to self-expression and the development of their own personal style and encourages all staff (that’s volunteers and employees for all you lucky people who haven’t read the document) to dress as they feel most comfortable and appropriate. I probably should put something in there about washing up if you get lipstick on the mugs but perhaps not? Personally I don’t have any objection to whatever colour of lipstick people wear, I’m particularly partial to green and blue myself, but it’s a git to get off the cups.

Last week I finally got to go and see Rotterdam, the play about gender, sexuality and being a long way from home that’s at the Nuffield, at the University of Southampton, this week. I thoroughly recommend it. There’s some gentle humour and some real representation. You may not recognise yourself as one of the characters but I’m pretty sure you’ll recognise a friend or two, and it not then you’ll have enjoyed a good night out at the theatre. Beneficiaries (i.e. the people we send *all* the emails to) of Chrysalis and our volunteers can get a discount. The code is in an email from Dawn.

What else was I up to? Mainly working on budgets and supervision. I like supervision, not only do I get to work with people who are delivering all our wonderful support services but I don’t leave with any actions! I may have mentioned before that part of learning to be a counsellor, or perhaps it is an innate ability that’s enhanced by being a counsellor, is that once I leave that confidential one-to-one zone, all the information is locked away into a box until next time. It’s how I keep everyone’s stuff separate, contextual memory. The downside is that I’m really rubbish at recognising people out of context! If I’ve ever blanked you then I apologise, it’s not that I’m avoiding you it’s that my filing system is locked.

This week I’m meeting with a potential new trustee, very exciting stuff. I am continually honoured and humbled by how many people want to get involved with Chrysalis. Thank you to everyone out there, we really couldn’t do it without you.

Tuesday and Wednesday I’m working with Joanne Lockwood promoting diversity, understanding and inclusion. Thursday I need to have everything sorted so that Neil and I can look over the budgets and get all our plans in place and then Friday it’s trustee report day and, I’ve checked my calendar and it really is, I’m up in Basingstoke working with Hannah and Imale and getting to work with the group. Very excited. It’s always a privilege to be welcomed into someone’s space, one which I hope I never forget.
So bye for now, lets get on with the hard stuff – rather a few emails to read I think. Speak soon.