My name is Hope Abbigail Nulf, and I am a special education teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada. My creation is a doodle; I started drawing in 1977. The impetus for the doodle was due to a variety of reasons: bullies were regularly beating me up, I was friendless, and I felt odd.
After a particularly brutal beating, I was hospitalized; one side of my face was badly swollen. One eye was closed, and the doctors believed I might lose sight in the eye. A nurse, working a night shift, gave me a pad of paper and a pen. From that simple act of kindness and my lonely state of existence Doodle emerged. She was me in doodle form. Like me in all ways except that she was popular, funny, and had scads of friends. Through high school, college, and to this day, Doodle has been my avenue to express myself. She was the canvas I expressed my fears, hopes, self-doubts, and depressions upon. In college, she committed suicide a number of times; thus allowing me to continue my struggle.
I transitioned in 2000, and my life changed from a existence of desperation to a celebration of hope and optimism. The age of 40 was late to find my first friends and my first brush with happiness, but it certainly does make you appreciate it. About four years ago, I took my personal and private friend Doodle to the public sphere. I began to share her with my gay community and my friends; the result was heartwarming. Doodle had transformed; she was drawn from a place of happiness, so the nature of the art changed. Not only was doodle now a girl but the tone of the doodles moved from cynicism and fear to activism and hope. They went from a dark and lonely place of survival to one of glee at being alive and having found answers but still forming new questions. Doodle has evolved to honoring teaching, being able to grow old, celebrating community successes, and grieving over losses like the killings at Pulse and the abuses at my Alma mater (Michigan State University). But, at her core she remains a voice for people that have no voice. She remains an answer to the bully’s of my youth, and my victory over them in finding happiness even if it is a little late in the game.
I share Doodle on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By posting a new doodle every day, I have developed a small but comically loyal following. She was so well received by my gay community that I published 4 books. The books are a documentation of my journey. My first three were as an author who simply called herself “gay,” and the most recent is by an author who openly embraces being transgender. I am publicly acknowledging that my new company (Life as a Doodle) is owned and operated by a transgender artist.
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KTNV Las Vegas
Included on this page is my PowerPoint. It is my intention to present this PowerPoint to teachers in my district, at conferences, and other public forums. It may seem a strange way to “come out,” but my department of diversity and equity believes teachers that are Transgender ought to be talking about it. In the light of current events, and I agree with them. The PowerPoint shares my journey and explains how Doodle saved me. It conveys my story, but represents the story of others that are in the shadows. It walks a fine line; it is my experience as a transgender person, but it conveys it through the images similar to the Sunday funnies. The awe and glee of being me, and having such a friend.
Please download my PowerPoint Presentation: “My Shoes: A Time to Stop Running”.
Please download my PowerPoint Presentation: “Adult Special Education”.