Monday, 25 January 2010


One of the most difficult things in life is to come up with a purpose in life. I think I just lost it. There are plenty of things I could do, know how to do and would like to do, but I can discern no purpose in doing so. There's no distinct why, who or what for which would make it appear to me like a useful activity. Instead I'm just sitting here, stuck pondering and desperately trying to motivate myself. Motivation which isn't coming.

I'm honestly afraid. Afraid of not feeling like I have a purpose in life, of feeling like I can or have made a difference. Instead all I can see are things which have failed or are in the process of failing. Why am I even trying?

What I'm also afraid of are these thoughts which keep popping up more and more often the past few days, of death, of suicide, of ending things. Is that really what I'm moving towards? Is it the only possible conclusion to this unfathomable life I have had so far? Is it anything more impressive than a bug dying somewhere in a world which doesn't even notice?

Maybe I'm just really tired. Maybe I just want to lie down for a while. Maybe it's okay if I never get up again...


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Nightmare: Sex

The first part of my dream was a common way in which I was in a train, subway or similar public transport station and trying to find my way home. In this case I was in Rotterdam, just got off the subway and needed to find a train which would take me home. This part wasn't disturbing in any way, just a feeling of trying to figure out things. Felt very familiar.

The second part was the nightmare. I don't recall every detail of it and it is fairly graphic in nature. I was apparently in this close (married?) relationship with a man who felt similar to my housemate, Pieter. I don't recall how I got to this next part of the dream, or even whether anything preceded it. I remember myself saying something about this white, cylindrical device with various markings, air holes and such on its surface (about 15-20 cm tall, similar in diameter) that it was stimulating me, in which I was referring to a physical kind of stimulation. This was then misunderstood by this man, who I shall refer to as my husband from this point on. The device got placed on top of my tummy while I was in a lying position, around my abdomen. I then seem to recall feeling a man's body pressed against me for a few moments, then I look down my body as I feel something moist and to my shock I see that apparently I'm lying on top of a man as well and his penis is sticking up between my legs in an erect manner. Then the owner of this body part ejaculates and I hear myself screaming in abject terror, obviously going somewhat crazy.

The rest is somewhat of a jumble, something about my husband beating up this other man who didn't stick to the rules set before, pictures of the aftermath including me on the left hand side, smiling, with a face partially covered in blood, which I recognize as being my own. Then to my right is my husband, also seeming to have had a few punches on his mouth with his blood partially covering it and. Then a picture of him in a location which seems very similar to the kitchen here in Pieter's house, with the refrigerator on the left, two police officers holding my husband down with him covered in blood as is the empty wall behind him. I remember that he got arrested for a while. I also remember him going on about trying it again with another man but this time we'd get it right and me thinking about how he never really understood me, never knowing what I wanted. I never voiced this, however. I'm not sure whether this happened before or after the arrest.

This is where I woke up, with my arms clasped around my chest, dazed and after a moment convinced that I would before I knew it feel a man's hand grasp my leg and then work his way upwards to fulfill his bestial desires. This felt so real that I had to convince myself that it was all just a dream, that there really was nothing in my room before I could get out of bed and take the two steps to turn on the light in my room. As I waited for the light to flicker to life and drive away the night terrors, I looked at my bed and still didn't feel like everything of it was gone, that the nightmare was still lurking, more real than I could think.

I had to leave my room earlier to go to the bathroom and the moment I opened the door to the hallway I felt this wave of terror washing over me, as though something was lurking in the staircase. I locked the bathroom door in a state of near-terror. Rushing back to my room, I broke down in tears. I can not shake off this sensation that any second now something bad will happen. Someone will jump at me, or grab me, or... for whatever nefarious purpose. Even as I'm sitting here behind my computer typing this, with the light turned on and familiar music playing the sensation of terror isn't leaving me. I would go to Pieter who is sleeping right now as it's only ten minutes past 4 AM, but he has to get up in a few hours for a public performance and I don't want to steal a few hours of his sleep. I'll manage somehow...


Thursday, 21 January 2010


The overwhelming feeling I have dealt with for years and very strongly again the past few days is that my body truly does not matter. That I have had my shot at it and for whatever reason, genetics or otherwise, blew it. I'm a definition-less something. Heck, I'm not even worth defining.

The medical world has turned their back on me, with the UMCG as my last hope not responding at all any more, only telling me that they're 'working on it'. They just don't give a damn whether I live or die. Nor does anyone who doesn't really know me.

All this stuff with the media won't change a thing. People will just read the upcoming newspaper article and perhaps bother to send me a message telling me how wonderful I am for keeping this up for so long. Nothing will change. It's not wonderful that I haven't killed myself yet for the horrible mental torture I have had to endure the past years, or perhaps even my entire life.

This new name I have chosen for myself will never become my official name. I'll always have to endure the humiliation of having to explain why my ID card doesn't match up with reality. I will never know what in heaven's name this body is or what the hell I'm supposed to do or think of it. I feel so frustrated about this I often feel tempted to take it all out on this worthless body. Slice it, cut it, maim it. Be completely irrational about it as being rational isn't very useful either.

It's all pointless.

The past few days I feel that I'm slipping again. Tuesday I completely broke down and it took every ounce of willpower to prevent me from doing physical harm to myself. I'm separating my emotional and rational side more and more, as there's still no point to having the former. All it stands for is pain, frustration and this utterly useless desire to lead a 'normal' life as other people do, who do feel comfortable with their body, do understand it and know what it is, how it works and what they can do with it. Who can have a relationship with someone else without questioning everything and feeling uncertain about every detail because they just don't get the stupid, useless body they were born with.

Oh yes, I'm perfectly healthy, physically. Thanks for reminding me. Not that it matters. What in the world is the use of a body which is deemed 'healthy' when it is clearly some kind of undefinable, Frankenstein-ish, twisted collection of obviously non-matching elements? This body is a downright failure. It'd have been better if it had never been born.

It's completely irrelevant.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Exposure And Risk

Since I first opened myself up to others around the beginning of 2007 the scope of this exposure has gradually increased, either through my own choices or via processes beyond my control. While opening myself to the outside world like that was necessary and has helped avoid a potentially dangerous situation, this exposure isn't without its troubles and hazards either.

Armed with the emotional maturity of an 8-year old child, I ventured into a world unbeknown to me other than from what my rational side could tell me about it. With an incredible thirst for love and attention accompanied by an equally impressively sized naivety, I turned out to be an easy prey for those with less honorable intentions. So on one side exposing myself has possibly saved my life and allowed me to progress and meet people I care about and respect, yet at the other side it has made me extremely fragile and possibly permanently impaired some aspects of my emotional development.

Was it the right choice? Was there anything else I could have done? Can or should I blame the VUMC for not responding to my request for help, thus worsening my frustrations and need for help? At this point there is little else I can do but move on with what I have.

What I have at this moment is an appearance in the largest newspaper of the Netherlands within two months time, as well as probably an appearance on national TV, on a national news show called 'Hart van Nederland' which freely translates to 'Heart of the Netherlands'. My thanks go to this wonderful woman I met at the barbershop just over a week ago who offered to ask her friend who works at this TV channel SBS6 whether they might be interested in my story. This is a case where exposing myself was responded to by kindness and a sincere offer for help.

I have no idea what these media appearances will result in, if anything, but it seems to be the best shot I have so far at dragging this case out of obscurity and into the spotlights. At any rate it feels good to more or less extract myself out of the quicksand trap which disguises itself as the medical world here in this country. At this point I'm no longer at their mercy, but I have been permitted to wield the most powerful weapon imaginable outside thermonuclear weapons against corruption and uncaring attitudes with these media appearances. For that alone I am grateful.

Today I sent an email to Inge Wingbermuhle and Engel Vrouwe regarding my decision to discontinue the therapy in Hilversum. In the email I received from Engel Vrouwe he says he understands and supports my decision as he agrees that empathy from the side of the therapist is essential for successful therapy. I am also welcome to contact him as I'm still officially his client. It feels good to know that he supports me.

The risk I'm taking by turning to the media is of course that of getting nasty remarks from people who do or can not understand as well as other expressions of ignorance. It's also a struggle to make the journalists and those in charge of particular shows and magazines understand what the issue is. It is really draining to have to explain the same things over and over again because the subject of intersexuality is such a big unknown pretty much for everyone. It is my sincere hope that after the appearance in De Telegraaf newspaper and on SBS6 will change this, as together they should reach a few million people. If I have to explain what intersexuality is a few thousand times less I'll feel like I have accomplished something already.

The uncertainty is the most difficult thing to deal with at this point. Not knowing what is going to happen, what my future will look like, whether I'll ever learn anything about this body I was born with, and whether I can have a normal relationship with someone I love. Last night I cried again for the first time in a few weeks time and today again. Hopefully I won't ever have to cry again from anything but joy in a year from now.


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Provoking Changes

Change isn't something you generally just come across or something to which you can just surrender and see where you end up, unless it is negative change. Where nothing is actively changed, things will only degrade. Even though it's easiest to crawl into a dark corner, to hide from all that is new and frightening or just unknown, it is not the solution.

During the past few years I have come across a number of intersexual people, yet each time I noticed how they didn't want to talk about their condition, tell me anything about their body unless in riddles and generally avoid the truth. None of them seemed particularly happy to me. It reminded me of myself back in late 2006 when I hadn't told anyone about my 'secret' except for a few friends. It literally nearly killed me. Without a way to express myself, to feel acceptance and to find that place in this world where I belonged I felt adrift, cut loose from everything and everyone, with nothing to guide me, nothing to hold on to but matters unrelated to my physical presence in this world. Without any change I doubt I would be sitting here, writing these words for so many people to read.

What provoked change for me was a friend urging me to just tell anyone. She offered to tell everyone if I didn't feel like it. It felt so good to be able to talk freely about everything, to feel accepted by everyone because of or despite what I am, and to actually feel closer to many people because I didn't keep up the pretense of being just a regular girl. This event has since repeated itself many times over, with various other people and virtually every time it has evoked sympathy, acceptance, curiousity and even offers for help.

Medically speaking, at the point where I am at this moment there is nowhere for me to go, nothing left to wait or hope for. Doctors have asked me whether this isn't the moment to give up my search and just accept that there is no answer. What they fail to see is that this would begin a cycle of stagnation and decay. I would have to build a wall around those parts of me I do not understand or can not deal with, which includes sexuality and relationships. As is easy to imagine, these psychological walls aren't a solution, but a problem which will grow worse over time, eventually leading to a complete breakdown. This is the primary reason why I can not stop searching for answers. For understanding. After all, there can be no acceptance if there is nothing to accept in terms of clear facts.

The change I have been trying to evoke since a few years time now has been to involve the media, thus getting attention for this festering case. This year it appears as though my efforts will finally pay off, with an appearance in the largest Dutch newspaper in a few weeks time, and a TV appearance on a large Dutch TV channel or two. I have every hope that within a few months I will have the breakthrough I have been looking for, and intersexuality as a whole can tread out of the shadow of obscurity to be finally acknowledged as something which exists and which deserves as much attention as every other important medical and social matter.

I notice the changes the current interactions with the media are evoking in myself; I feel more energetic, more motivated and driven to accomplish something in life. It's as though what I do truly matters, that I have the power to make life better for not only myself but for so many others and perhaps even change the course of history, much like with the acknowledgement and acceptance of homosexual people in the 60s, although perhaps somewhat more dramatic, as this new change would involve the acknowledgement of a third 'sex' in addition to the current two.

Among these changes I have also decided to discard and arm myself against the remains of the past. After one visit to that psychotherapist in Hilversum I felt almost sickened by the sense of despair and helplessness I felt forced upon me. It was as though I was back with all those psychologists and those other horrible people who have done me so much harm. People who are good at practicing their profession, but are utterly worthless and even harmful when it comes to helping people. After talking matters through with my mother I have decided to stop visiting that psychotherapist and resume my contacts with Engel Vrouwe and Inge Wingbermuhle. Unlike other therapists these two wonderful people care about helping people first, even if it means doing less conventional things, such as visiting a hospital together with their 'patient', something other therapists would definitely frown upon.

Work-wise things are looking up; we got three 'interns' running around inside the company these days, one doing 3D modelling, one doing a bit of everything, but mostly web development at this point, and another guy who may do the music and SFX for the game. With the current rate we should as planned be able to release the game around the end of February. I really hope things will work out.

In other news, Pieter is having more issues with his '88 Volvo. This time the car will start and run normally until the gas pedal is pushed in at any speed faster than 'slow', as this will instantly kill the engine. Hopefully the issue will be found soon and fixed as Pieter isn't liking the temporary car he got in the mean time isn't much to his liking :P


Friday, 15 January 2010

Photographing The Madonna

As I'm writing this I'm on the edge of toppling over from exhaustion. Please excuse any mistakes or oddities which may derive from this.

At this moment I'm reminded of the events of yesterday by the soreness in many muscles and joints, some of which I didn't even know existed. It reminds me strongly of the first photoshoot I had, which also left me feeling as though I had had an unfortunate encounter with a freight train.

At around 11 AM the photographer arrived at my house. The first hours we spent mostly talking, drinking coffee (she, not me), walking Pieter's dogs and discussing the options with the photoshoot. My impression of this photographer (who as an aside has her site at ) was that of a very frank and open woman, who appears to have many similarities with my personality. It was no wonder we had a good time together.

With the article focusing on the emotional aspects and my feelings in general rather than the cold facts, a few photos symbolizing this would be nice, so we set to work. Location was the living room.

Trying numerous positions and looks and lighting, we slowly worked towards the ideal photo, according to Sasha. Eventually she got pretty excited and kept saying something about me looking like a Madonna ( After the last series was taken she dragged me to a darker part of the room and showed me the last series she had taken. I immediately had to agree that it looked like something you would see in a classical painting of the Madonna, or a classical painting in general.

Together with a few other pictures it filled the requirement for at least multiple variations of two types of pictures, namely the main photo, which would be printed the largest, and a smaller picture, to be used on the next page. I can't show anyone yet what these photos look like as I haven't received them yet from Sasha, and even then I wouldn't be allowed to show them. So, just a bit of patience please :)

After the photoshoot the fun started, with me getting a splitting headache (from looking at so many bright lights without being able to avert my eyes) and generally feeling drained combined with the onset of sore and stiff muscles. After a brief nap and some painkillers I felt better. Despite this discomfort it was more than worth it, though.

This morning I'm still not feeling okay, though. I'm feeling quite tired with little appetite, and the nausea I felt this morning was even more severe than usual. I think I just need to catch up on some sleep, though. I didn't sleep that well last night.


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Look At Me, I'm Doing Science

Last year, before Christmas, one of my fellow team mates in the Folding@Home team I'm in (number 33, HardOCP) who goes by the lovely nick of Tigerbiten, asked me whether I might be interested in some of the old PCs he used to use for the project and has recently upgraded. When I heard that they were quad-core Q6600 processors including mainboard, RAM and PSU I jumped at the chance. A few days ago I received a rather heavy box, weighing in at around 10 kg.

Inside the box I found two identical Intel Socket 775 Gigabyte mainboards, two Q6600 CPUs (G0 stepping), two sets of 2x2 GB DDR2 Corsair RAM, a Leadtek 9800GX2 GPU, a 550 Watt Gigabyte PSU, and a rather questionable 750 Watt XClio PSU from their so-called 'Great Power' series. Including Fuhjyyu main capacitor. Stellar. I'm not one to question a gift horse, though :)

I cannibalized an old Athlon K7 system to put one Q6600 system in. As it's an older AOpen ATX case it only has room for two 80 mm exhaust fans, which greatly restricts its cooling options. The 9800GX2 videocard also exhausts partially into the case, so it's a few hundred Watt of heat it has to dissipate. Not an easy task, and the temperatures I'm getting aren't stellar either, ranging from 85C on the GPU cores during load to 45C idle, 70C load on the CPU cores. A new case and/or CPU cooler might help a lot. I looked at the Antec 200 and 300 cases and they seem to be great at dumping heat outside the case (two 120 mm, one 140 mm exhaust fan). Just wish they could be controlled by the mainboard's fan headers. And that I had 50 Euro lying around to buy it with :P

It took me a while to get the system set up. First I had some major issues with the optical drives of the old K7 system. The new mainboard's BIOS would first not detect them at all, then only the CD-ROM drive, but it was so slow it was nearly impossible to get Windows installed using it. Finally during last Sunday I used a USB stick install of Windows XP 64-bit which worked like a charm. Thanks to this experience I have become quite enamored of foregoing the use of optical media completely for OS installs in favour of a more 21st century method, with easy customization, no coasters and less storage space required.

Currently thanks to this new system my daily production for the Folding@Home project has jumped from about 9,000 Points Per Day (PPD) to around 24,000 PPD. The temperatures on the GPU and CPU have me somewhat worried though, since I run this system 24/7. At least it isn't summer yet.

Two nights ago I had this new system running fully configured for the first time through the night. At around midnight the temperature alarm for the CPU suddenly sounded, waking me up from what appeared to be a nightmare which I don't recall. I had my hands clenched on my chest and I was sweating profoundly again. As it turned out, the temperature alarm was because the BIOS was set to sound it if the CPU reached 70 degrees. After changing it to 90C I was able to enjoy a more peaceful night.

Saturday I had another torture appointment at the beauty salon I frequent. Afterwards while drinking a cup of tea I got into a conversation with another woman, who turned out to have her own company as well. Then when the beautician mentioned my impending interview for the country's largest newspaper the woman asked me what this interview was for, so I told her.

As chance would have it, she was quite interested, and told me she has a friend who works at a large commercial TV channel, called SBS. If I want to she is prepared to ask this friend of hers whether I can appear in a show on that channel. I told her that I'd love the opportunity, but that I would first have to see how the deal with the Avro works out. She'll call me on Friday by which time I should know whether I'm either okay-ed with the Avro and can/can't appear on SBS as well, or they don't want me at the Avro after all and I can appear on SBS. I expect a phone call from the Avro today.

Monday was my interview for 'De Telegraaf', or more specific the accompanying magazine 'Vrouw'. It went quite well, as soon as I got over the fact that this female journalist smelled quite strongly of cigarette smoke. The focus with this interview was far more on my emotional experience of the past few years and how I saw myself progressing emotionally. Previous interviews had been more about the pure facts with less feelings mixed in, so I had to shift gears a bit, but I think I managed well enough. The interview took all together about 1.5 hour. I expect the first draft of the article this week.

Pieter left Monday morning for Germany, where he has to attend some meetings together with a few of his colleagues for a project. He should return home today again at around 7 PM. The dogs surely do miss him. The past two days they have been okay, but today they can't stop barking and howling, and acting nervous in general. It's like they can smell their owner is coming home today and can't wait for it. It just reinforced for me why cats are much better than dogs. A cat would never get this upset about its owner not being present for a day or two. Dogs are just weak :D

Anyway, tomorrow morning is my photoshoot appointment. I got told by the journalist on Monday that this photographer is quite an 'energetic' woman, to which I responded that in case she hadn't noticed it yet, I can be quite energetic as well :)

The photographer will arrive here at 11 AM, after which we'll discuss the exact setup. I think my room is only in a state of mild disarray at this point, only got to clean up a few more things. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Also can't wait for Pieter to return home tonight. I do like being around him, and while I can manage on my own it'll be quite pleasant to have him home again.

Woof, or something ;)


Friday, 8 January 2010

Connectedness And Disconnectedness

First of all some bad, or rather not very useful news. I have received the result from the second genetic test, the chromosome test performed on cells from the inside of the cheeks. This result was also XY, meaning that as far as the geneticist at the UMCG is concerned there is genetically no explanation with current tests for my intersexuality.

I have also had another MRI scan performed a few weeks ago at the Onze Lieve Vrouw Gasthuis (OLVG) hospital in Amsterdam, this time using an additional, rectal RF probe for increased resolution of the soft tissues of the abdomen. According to the report from the OLVG I received yesterday via my GP, they didn't see a blind vagina on it, but did see a prostate. The report was exceedingly brief though, barely more than 3 sentences, so I'm not sure what exactly they did look at and specifics of what they saw. I will be requesting the images from this scan at any rate.

Today I sent an email to professor Weijmar Schultz at the UMCG, asking him about a few things. First point was whether or not he was aware of any contact by the urologist Meijer from the Flevo hospital here with the UMCG's urologist Van Driel. I then listed the points I'd like to have that urologist address, being the lack of a foreskin, the thin and fragile skin, the weird ejaculatory fluid prior to the hormone therapy and the complete lack of ejaculation after beginning the hormone therapy where there should be some at least.

I also addressed the low natural testosterone production of my body (25% of average male levels), an explanation for the cavity I feel where a woman would have a vagina, such as a proto-vagina, and finally why my libido has not decreased at all despite the use of testosterone-blocker, which is common with transsexual men.

Further I asked whether the radiologist had been looking for examples of other MRI scans on which a similar collection of air inside the rectum is visible. In a previous email Weijmar Schultz wrote that he'll take my suggestion for removal of the testicles to the next meeting. I made this request because it'd allow me to quit taking the testosterone-blocker, which would spare my liver and reduce the chance of thrombosis.

How do I feel about all this news? Mostly annoyed. At this point there is still a huge disconnect between external, clinical data plus own observations and the test results, with one group not offering any explanations for the other. In other words I'm still stuck at the same position. Go directly to jail, do not pass Start, do not receive $200. Sigh.

Where things do seem to be brightening up is with the media, with an interview and photoshoot for the largest Dutch newspaper 'De Telegraaf' next week (publication date early March or sooner), and interest from a large public TV channel for one of their medical shows. This may actually be my breakthrough, as it's hard to imagine getting more media attention than this in this small country.

What I feel as a huge disconnect is how the medical community in this country seems to be totally disinterested in a remarkable, exceptional and not understood case, even though medical science has been completely founded upon the research into the exceptions to what's 'normal'.

I truly hope that more media attention will give this topic the attention it deserves. It's beyond ridiculous that intersexual people are ignored and denied by society much like the existence of homosexual people and others was denied for the longest time. Even if I'm neither male nor female, I'm still a person with my own identity. Even if I don't know what it is exactly yet.


Sunday, 3 January 2010

Dream: Survival-Horror

We had been fighting against whatever we found in the tunnels underneath the school building for what seemed an eternity. They weren't zombies or anything as dull as that. Our ranks got thinned out rapidly until all we could do was flee. We gathered in one of the halls of the school on the ground floor and discussed things, then gathered supplies. I remember looking at some scissors and other items I knew so well and wanting to take them with me out of some sense of empathy and perhaps a longing to a peaceful time.

The remaining students gathered at the main entrance and some of us went outside first. Through the glass windows in the doors we could follow their progress. They got about ten meters from the entrance when one of them sank down to the ground, clearly dead. Others around him pulled out guns. I asked a girl and others who were standing next to me, also looking through the windows what in hell was happening. Nobody answered me. Then the first survivors returned.

The girl who first hurried back through the doors mentioned an aircraft, by which I think she meant a helicopter, which appeared and fired upon them. She shook her head wildly and said that they didn't want us to leave because we knew and they would never let us leave.

Meanwhile a group of people we didn't know were rumoured to have entered the building and were taking over the school floor by floor. Some of us still felt we had to leave. We assembled at some back door. Outside it was raining. The others were wearing coats, including one girl I also know outside the dream. I wasn't wearing anything over my sweater and felt annoyed that it'd get all dirty during our escape and hiding.

Then when the others left through the door into the rain, I decided to not follow them after all, and instead went up the two flights of stairs to my room. In the hall before my room I encountered a guy walking in my direction. I seemed to know him because I reacted angrily, grabbing him by his hair and forcing him to the floor. I then proceeded to my room, which was apparently an attic room. Once inside I could see that its contents were hardly touched, to my great relief. Then the guy I had just encountered in the hallway entered the room as well. I looked at him and said: "You didn't...", apparently aiming at the state of the room.

Next I know I'm lying next to him on a bed. There's also another guy in the room at this point and they are both talking to each other. I'm feeling quite safe while looking at the yellow sunlight brightening up the room through the only window I can I can see from where I'm lying. I feel comfortable lying so close to this guy, though I do feel a bit uncertain about my body being somewhat weird.

Then the guy I'm lying next to asks me what was going on, and I react somewhat upset, blurting out something about something terrible underneath the building and 'them' not wanting others to learn about it. He responds by telling me that they haven't seen anything unusual, which makes me feel very confused. I wonder out loud whether I imagined it all, when I find myself rushing through all these images and scenes which appear like video game characters, such as those from World of Warcraft.

It are scenes of battles between mages and such as well as of groups of generic lords gathering on stands for a meeting or such. I wonder whether I have truly lost my mind when I suddenly wake up.