Friday, 29 October 2010

The Great Clashing Of Opinions

There are many sayings about opinions, most of them true, which all seem to come down to that there are a lot of opinions out there, at least as many as there are people on this planet, and that most of these opinions are unequivocally wrong. Who ever said that to voice an opinion you'd need to make it informed, after all? Just employ your vocalization apparatus, exercise those digits at the ends of your frontal limbs or employ a more obscure method and you too can voice an opinion. Intelligence is optional.

There's also another saying, one referring to one's intention to defend the right of everyone to voice such opinions. In my opinion this statement requires refinement, some adjustment to compensate for the more outrageous and least informed opinions. Not everyone enjoys basking in the surreptious stench of other people's uninformed wastes. And boy, there is some stench out there.

One such occasion occurred only yesterday when I was browsing the traffic statistics for my sites, and noticed traffic from a particular Dutch forum I had frequented before. In my naivity I ventured towards it again, considering it a good opportunity to use my upcoming TV appearance as a talking point.

Before I knew it, the topic I had thus created descended into a churning whirlpool of baseless accusations, poorly informed questions and statements and a lot of hurtful comments. Much like with previous attempts to even address the concept of intersexuality on other Dutch forums. Not that it's just Dutch people who seem to be very hostile when it comes to this subject, but they are the most vicious by far. It has convinced me to no longer frequent such a place.

To make it perfectly clear, I no longer feel the desire to defend myself against the uninformed masses. If they lack the mental capacity to figure things out for themselves, that's their problem. I'm willing to listen and respond to serious questions and comments, but everything else isn't even parsed any longer. Life is too short to deal with such feculent matters.

There's also the unsettling effect such accusations have on my mood, as they break open the seal I have put around the disturbing realization that I do not know who or what I am, only what I can and can't do. Life isn't easy when the involvement of one's own existence into one's observations only leads to upsetting questions and an abhorring lack of answers.

Until such answers have been found, I'm a mere freak of nature, a medical curiousity, without the same rights as regular people. There's no need to hold back one's scorching remarks and jokes at my expense for this reason. I was put on this world for exactly that purpose after all. I have no feelings which can get hurt, and I never long for loving and caring attention.

So please, do not hold back those opinions.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Work Pressure

My mood the past few days, basically since last weekend, has been quite stable. I'm not sure I'd describe it as an emotional numbness or more as a refocusing on things in life which are positive and actually important. As it turns out, an attitude of 'don't think, don't care' when it comes to things and people which don't seem to be relevant in helping one's life along is really a good thing. It's like the green way of living, in terms of preserving energy :)

In some ways it's akin to the Buddhist way of living; more a focus on the inside than the outside, for only from within oneself can there arise understanding and enlightenment. While I do not subscribe to the modern form(s) of Buddhism, I do adhere to and find myself in many of Buddha's original teachings and philosophies, if only because they're firmly rooted in logic and there's no dogma to accept first.

These past days I have managed to complete the third player avatar for TileWars, a very modern looking fox model. I tried some different approaches in Photoshop CS5 this time while creating the diffuse map, most significant of all directly editing the diffuse maps instead of painting on the model. This works out much better when it comes to to just putting a line somewhere on a basic model like these, or for precision placement of eyes and other touchy features when there's no real reference for them on the model.

I do feel that my life would be even easier if I were to overlay the unwrapped UVW map on the diffuse map in CS5. Not saying that this is hard or impossible, just that I'm lazy and will probably attempt this next time :) What it comes down to in the end, is that there isn't really one golden standard of painting a 3D model, whichever application you use for it. Drawing on the UVW map is easy for some models, drawing on a 2D layer on top of a 3D model is easier for some features, while sometimes it's just so much easier to edit the diffuse map directly and preview your changes in the 3D view. Use whatever works best, I guess. Don't be afraid to experiment and above all try to have fun instead of becoming frustrated :P

TileWars is coming along rapidly now. After Trevor finished the menu last week he has since made a lot of progress on the game code. We actually got a semi-working level now, just with a few glitches still, and no textures :) Our TODO list includes finishing the level system, putting in the textured models and final tiles, integrating the AI and network code and maybe adding a few more avatars and tidbits. Then for the finishing touch there's the background music (BGM) and sound effects (SFX). It sounds so easy :)

I got a lot more on my plate this week, however. For my cousin's site I have to try and finish Nyanko CMS and use it to power her site, all before the end of this week. Nyanko CMS is the content management system I have been working on in some iteration for a few years now. Early this year I did a rewrite on its code but left it to gather dust when debugging was giving me troubles and personal issues got in the way of my focus. I now have fixed these bugs I got stuck on before and am working my way through the source to finish what wasn't yet. I hope to finish most of the work today.

In other news, this morning I went to my GP to obtain a blood test form. Tests include testosterone, oestradiol and PSA. The first two are to ensure these hormones are still at their proper levels. The latter is to get some more solid data on whether my prostate is truly active, as it's a protein only secreted by a prostate, the level of which depends on its functional state. If it were to be 0, for example, I might as well not have a prostate. If it's very low, it means the prostate is barely functioning. This is another test no hospital in this country bothered to perform before. I should have the results in about two weeks time. It should be interesting :)


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Life's Many Paths

Today so far is a better day than yesterday. Last night I had to take a second sleeping pill in a row because the same thoughts kept churning through my head. Hopefully a third sleeping pill won't be necessary tonight. It would probably freak out my GP if she heard I was taking this many sleeping pills. to my credit, though, I skipped a few nights as well.

I went to the swimming pool by myself and didn't expect to see any of the others, but instead two of the regulars joined me there as well, both fun guys. We chatted a lot about movies, computers, video games and even managed to swim a bit. It was lots of fun. I also learned that at least one of them works at the VUMC hospital, a place which I'm intimately familiar with, sadly. Neither of them knows about my 'secret' as far as I know. After November 9th's broadcast, which I did tell them about, it'll be interesting to hear their responses.

This morning it felt like a lot of pieces suddenly fell into place; my troubles of yesterday and weeks before that seem so easy to solve now, albeit pleasant solutions are quite rare when it comes to relationships. In life everyone follows their own path, which sometimes intertwine with those of others, allowing them to walk together for a moment, which can be anywhere from a few minutes while chatting in the train or at a queue, or last many years. The fact of life is that all of these paths will one day separate again.

I'm finding myself in a situation where my own path doesn't follow that of certain people around me, some I have already lost sight of, others I will say my farewells to soon whether everyone knows it already or not. It's always a sad thing when one's path no longer follows that of someone one cares about, but nobody said life is fair, right? :)


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Supression And Distractions

It's still not going well with me. Only thing I can say is that I seem to have reached some kind of equilibrium between my suicidal and lighter moods. I still feel horrible when I think about my current situation, but it no longer controls me. I am very careful to not let anything disturb this balance, however, which is why I'm not enabling my phone or other forms of direct contact. Email is the most risky thing I'm exposing myself to, and I have had to assure my mother and some friends that I'm not going to do anything rash.

Once again, let me repeat that I do not desire to die, or to take my own life. I am however under a great deal of stress, at times like these even more. Today I have been in emotional shock for much of the day, but even outside it I feel a splitting headache, severe nausea resulting in me eating almost nothing today (2 slices of bread which nearly made me throw up, plus some chocolate), dizziness and hyperventilating. The thing is that a happier environment would resolve most of these symptoms, but I lack the financial capability for this, and the road to securing such funds is still a long and difficult one.

I did an online test at after a friend messaged me with their phone number. I didn't call them, but I did browse the resources on their site. The result of the 21-question test is:

"You regularly think about suicide, and this deserves serious attention. You are possibly desperate, and it's important that you don't keep this to yourself. It seems important to us that you seek help. [..]
"It is also a good idea to contact your GP, who can see whether medication or regular off-line therapy could help you."

Nothing new, I guess. I am desperate, I need attention, which I actively seek. As pointed out on self-help sites, suicide is still a taboo, so talking about it usually results in people shunning you. In other words, most people do not take the issue of suicide serious enough, resulting in far too many unnecessary deaths. I just have to look at my own extended family for at least one such case. If I had known what was going on with my cousin, I would have done anything to help her. It's the worst feeling ever when someone you care about has killed him or herself and you know you maybe could have done something, anything to prevent it.

It's also a terrible feeling to be at the other side of the fence. I look at people and wish they could all feel the pain I feel inside, yet so few even bother to try to understand it, and even those fail. When someone claims to understand what you're going through, but they do not it's far worse than if they just ignore you. I don't care much that the average person I meet doesn't really know that I regularly think about suicide. I do care when people close to me do not fully grasp it, and end up hurting me specifically because they are close to me. This weekend is yet another example of this. It's the flipside of allowing oneself to become friends with someone else.

My natural response at this point is therefore of course the classical withdrawal response; at getting hurt the reflex is to protect one from further damage by cutting off contact with others, thereby limiting the chance of any of them hurting you as well. When it comes to suicide, this is the one situation where those around the person have to absolutely step in and reassure that contact with others is essential and absolutely not always hurtful. Isolation only increases the possibility of suicide.

I have two great friends, both of which I have been talking to today, which cheered me up and allowed me to see the brighter sides of life again. Some other friends and people I know have been messaging me as well. Thank you, all of you for supporting me when I need it most :)

The best thing I can do for now, I guess, is to await November 9th and see what the effect, if any, of the TV broadcast will be, and whether I'll have a response from the US by then. I so long for getting a bit more direction in my life. There's absolutely no pleasure in not knowing what's going to happen in any aspect of one's life.

One thing I did accomplish today was finish debugging the synchronization link between the local and remote sections of the Nyanko CMS I have been working on again as of late. In the end I had to resort to using Wireshark to sniff the network traffic to figure out exactly where things were going haywire. Next up is integrating the debugged code back into the CMS trunk and finishing the last parts of the CMS so that I can get my client/cousin's website online by the end of next week.

At least something nice happened today...



I'm feeling absolutely horrible, emotionally upset, possibly balancing on the edge of full-blown shock again, I have turned off my phone and otherwise made it almost impossible for people to reach me. Why?

I would detail it here, but thanks to the forceful requests of a number of people I can not go into any amount of detail. Here's a hint, though: this weekend I'm home alone again. Hopefully that isn't enough to upset those I shall not name.

In other news, what's up with people hurting you by saying and/or doing or not doing something and being either completely oblivious to the results or secretly enjoying it or something?

Apparently truth and honesty are buried somewhere in a shallow grave.

Yes, I'm rambling.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

A Liberal Interpretation Of 'Support'

The past few days I have had to yet again defend myself against people offering friendly advice on what they think I should do with regard to my situation. I have had some accuse me of being out of my mind for even contacting the media on this, claiming that I would be much happier if I stayed away from the public eye. Others were more than willing to provide a very dim prospect on getting the answers I seek, basically claiming that it's impossible anything will ever be found. I also had some expressing their disbelief that I am still continuing to look for answers, instead of just embracing what I have and live my life.

I think it's more than clear that too many people gladly offer advice these days, no matter how misguided or uninformed. I'm not sure defending myself against their accusations is actually helping. The only noticeable impact seems to be that I feel more alone and stripped of hope than ever before.

Why am I searching for answers about my body? Isn't it enough that I have never once in my entire life known who or what I am? That sexuality is the territory of absolute horrors thanks to my ignorance in that area, and those who managed to take advantage of this ignorance? Isn't feeling excluded from almost everything considered to be 'normal' things in a human's life reason enough? Why do I even have to defend myself for wishing to know basic facts about my own body?

I'm sick and tired of defending myself. I'm exhausted of so many things combined. There's absolutely no grain of happiness or joy in this existence. I'm lonely and feeling deserted. I feel like I have been physically and mentally beaten up and left for dead in the cold rain. There's no one who can reach me where I am now. I'm not sure it's worth reaching out to anyone anyway.

I realize people don't like it when I talk about this, but I can not deny the appeal of suicide. What's wrong with it again? It would end this situation, it would make some people really happy and above all it would end this ravaging pain which is tearing me up from the inside.

Just let me sleep for a long time. Please...


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Life Just Did A Backflip

A few hours ago Pieter informed me that the UMCG hospital has decided that they do not wish to examine me any further. Concretely this means that there's nothing more I can gain from the healthcare system in the Netherlands. In short, after nearly six years of fighting the war is over, and I have lost. It's a very bitter realization that despite all of my efforts and those of people close to me nothing major has been accomplished during all these years. What did I do it for, really?

Adding to this, there's the distinct possibility that a US university or hospital - such as the John Hopkins university in Baltimore, Maryland - will accept me as a study object, to find the answers I'm looking for, which would be awesome. It would also mean that I would probably have to put the rest of my life on hold again. How do I organize my work (new laptop?) and what about the things I have established here in the Netherlands, like social contacts, media things and the lobbying efforts? What if I'm expected to stay in the US for 2 months or maybe longer? There's so much uncertainty there.

Finally I have signed an agreement with Pieter that I'll have relocated to another place by February next year, meaning that this TileWars game Trevor and I are working on at the moment has to be and complete, released and successful before I even go to the US, else I'll have a major issue when I return home again, as I won't have any.

It all kind of reminds me of my trip to Canada, a few years ago. I would have preferred to keep such an unpleasant situation from ever happening again. Maybe things won't turn out as bad, though. I just don't know. Everything should become clear next month, around or after the TV broadcast on the 9th of November.

All I wished for was a break. I guess nothing in my life will ever be easy...


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Done With BNN TV Shoot

When I got up this morning to prepare for the TV shoot, I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something was going to go wrong. As it turns out, I was right. Fortunately it wasn't a real disaster, just a silly communications breakdown :)

By the time Pieter and I arrived at the swimming pool in Almere-Stad where the shooting would take place I had tried to call my BNN contact twice, then again at the pool as the film crew hadn't arrived yet, plus I sent her a text message. No response, just her voicemail. As I didn't have any phone numbers of the other members of the team (director, host, etc.), I couldn't do anything except wait until I got a message from my contact. As it turned out, my contact had fallen ill, nobody had bothered to tell me, and thanks to the director's phone number included in the message I was able to contact her and find out that the film crew was at the wrong swimming pool, the one in Almere-Buiten. Oops.

By the time everyone made it to the right swimming pool we were running half an hour behind schedule. First we did a shoot at the pool itself, I swam a few laps with the host, Sophie, and then did the same interview three times because the first two locations they picked were less than ideal. Some of the questions got a bit more personal, or at least more physical, such as how I managed to conceal the fact that I have a penis while wearing a bikini. Cue questions about how well-endowed I may or may not be :P

My mother got kind of lost on her way to the swimming pool, and had to get a ride from a gentleman to arrive somewhat late. By the time we were done it was 1.30 PM. Despite the few glitches things generally did go well, and although I'm glad it's all over now I will kind of miss it. Maybe there'll be other shows which will express interest after this one airs, though :)

With the director I'll be emailing a bit on the MRI images, for their inclusion in the episode, but that's the only involvement I'll have from this point onwards until it airs on November 9th. It airs on the Dutch TV channel Nederland 3, around 8.25 PM. Just to repeat myself, the show is called 'Je zal het maar zijn'. Projected viewer count is expected to be close to half a million. I say we can improve on that record :D

I sent my BNN contact a text message earlier to inform her that things worked out after all, and wished her a speedy recovery. It's the least I can do :)

In other news, I got an email from the photography student, informing me that while she's in Paris for some photographer's convention thing, she showed some photos of me for her project to a fairly famous photographer. She got a very positive response, and will stay in touch with that photographer. I think it's awesome that I can play a role in such a success story as well. Making people happy is a great thing after all :)



Suffering from another bout of insomnia, I find myself listening to some of my favourite Kiroro songs and I'm feeling overwhelmed by this intense sadness at how horrible people treat each other. What could be stronger than the desire to do good to others, so that they will repay in kind? What possible reason could there be for inflicting harm upon others by denying them access to something, inflicting physical and/or emotional pain, or worse? I don't understand. I just don't understand.

These are the lyrics to the Kiroro song 'Aitai':

Aitai to omou koto ga
Aishiteru ni tsunagaru
Kizukenai hodo negai ni
Okubyou ni natte
Anata to iru to
Sunao na jibun ni nareru yo usojanai

Zutto kinou nai huri wo shite kita kara
Ima sara nani wo ite mo
Shinjite moraenai ne

Honto ni suki na hito to
Isshoni narenai te kita
Sonna koto naito ano toki
Ookina koe de sakebeta no ni
Otonani naru to iron na koto ga mieru yo
Kowai kurai

Zutto anata wo wasurerarenai
Ima sara nani wo ite mo
Shinjite moraenai ne

Kamisama yatto
Hito sukini nareta
Kono watashi ga

Zutto kinou nai huri wo shite kita kara
Ima sara nani wo ite mo
Shinjite moraenai ne

Zutto anata wo wasurerarenai
Ima sara nani wo ite mo
Shinjite moraenai ne


Feeling this sense of longing
To get this love back
Wishing I hadn't hurt you
I was a coward
Together with you
I'll become the honest me, really

Always because of the deceptions of the past
Whatever happens now
You'll never give me your trust, will you?

I can't be together
With the person I really love
It will never happen, I said loudly
That one time
When you grow up you understand many things
It's frightening

You'll never allow me to forget
Whatever happens now
You'll never give me your trust, will you?

God finally
Allowed me to
Love someone

Always because of the deceptions of the past
Whatever happens now
You'll never give me your trust, will you?

You'll never allow me to forget
Whatever happens now
You'll never give me your trust, will you?


Excuse the rough translation, as I had to quickly do it from scratch and some things don't translate too easily from Japanese to English :)

I find that songs from Kiroro and Nakajima Miyuki really cover a lot of such topics really well. This sense of longing for happy things which are no longer, for things which have never been, for things which will never be.

Can't we all just get along?


Thursday, 14 October 2010

MRI Mysteries

Yesterday Pieter finally got an answer from the UMCG hospital. Apparently they're still discussing my case, whatever that may mean. Apparently last week Monday's appointment was as they had expected it to be, which also means that when the UMCG's urologist on that day said that he couldn't think of any further tests to find out what this 'hole' down there is exactly, it probably means just that. It seems like I will need help in the United States more than ever before.

After waiting a mere 10 months, Pieter also received the promised MRI images from the UMCG's radiologist, which he forwarded to me. These images - of regular males - were supposed to show that the kind of 'tube' visible on my images is nothing unusual for a male. Unfortunately I'm not sure whether the radiologist really understood what the matter was about. Let me explain.

The thing is that on my MRI images, there's this black (meaning empty, air-filled) tube visible, running from the top of the bladder down to the bottom of the pelvis, as in this original MRI image from the first German clinic:

Now, the four images I got from the UMCG look like this:

See the difference? No tube, clearly visible and quite massive prostate. On my own images you can see something which might be a small and hard to distinguish prostate, but on the horizontal slides it's very hard to pinpoint as it's so small.

For comparison purposes, two more of my own MRI images from the two other scans (Erasmus MC and OLVG MC):

What is this tube? Why isn't there anything in the male anatomy which would easily explain this? Why can't radiologists agree on what it is either? On the more detailed scans it also seems like this tube's inside is ridged, as would be expected by a vagina, instead of having a smooth wall. It all means that I can not accept these four images as any kind of proof, as they're no different from MRI images I managed to find before via Google, or in reference books for radiologists.

Another thing which makes this so frustrating is that I know that there's something down there, and that it very closely resembles a vagina. Heck, I can not get around using it as part of my sexuality. When masturbating it's a very natural spot to stimulate, and penetrate, with the frustrating part being the skin which is still stretched over it. Sometimes I have to interrupt my activities because the skin there just starts hurting too much, and afterwards it always hurts like hell. How am I supposed to just accept this? Am I to believe that those Dutch radiologists are correct and that this spot is all just in my head and that I just think there's a soft hole there?

As Pieter said a short while ago, they should have done a manual examination, just try to feel what's there underneath the skin while I'm feeling relaxed, possibly even somewhat sexually excited. Yes, embarrassing, but how else is one supposed to examine it? Part of me just wants to get away from this madness, and go to a place where they have more reasonable and interested doctors. Like the US maybe?


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife & Machete

Friday I saw Resident Evil: Afterlife in all its 3D glory in the local cinema. Saturday I saw Machete in its plain 2D-ness in the same cinema. Both movies I wouldn't want to see again. That's right, I just said I wouldn't want to see a Resident Evil movie again, this after rewatching the first three at least a few times.

What's wrong with Resident Evil: Afterlife (hereafter Afterlife) compared to its predecessors? For one thing the 3D thing. It was used well in a movie like Avatar where it truly added something. In that movie it brought new life to the atmosphere of the story and I do prefer the 3D version over the 2D one as it's just plain more impressive. Not so in Afterlife.

The director of Afterlife either only got a script of 10 pages which he had to turn into a movie of 90 minutes, or has been drooling over the Matrix for so long that he just couldn't resist. Either way, half the movie consists out of bullet-time, slow-motion or stand-still, moving-around-the-scene-while-it's-frozen-in-time kind of scenes. Every single fighting scene does it.

As said, there's about 10 pages worth of plot, which does add to the story we saw in the third movie (Extinction), but it's beyond wafer-thin, and the fluff added to fill up the remaining 70-odd minutes is painful, cliche and beyond ridiculous. It's not even scary, as it's obvious when the next tag-along character will be picked off by the new type of zombie. A type which doesn't get explained either, and doesn't really seem to fit in the RE universe.

Unless the next movie (yes, there'll be another one, probably in 2013 at the current rate of production) is a lot better, I'm not watching it and I'll be pretending that there are only three movies. In case you haven't heard yet, they even put in a very cheap cliff-hanger at the end of Afterlife which will have you groaning in disgust. Have fun waiting 3 years to find out what'll happen next. I'm out.

Moving on, if you thought that Afterlife was bad, wait until you get a load of Machete. It's like they took the concept of The Expendables and added a liberal amount of stupid to it. The story is bland, painful and uninspired. The amount of violence, gore and witty remarks would shame a B-movie and there's a lot of nudity for the sake of it. The movie keeps switching back and forth between a serious revenge story and a 'hey this is cool let's put it in as well' kind of attitude. It's like they let a couple of 10-year old boys go wild on the story and in the cutting room.

To be honest I couldn't keep watching Machete somewhere after the half-way point, as its amount of glee at suffering and gore just got too much and just closed my eyes and tried to ignore the rest. I could recommend this movie to people who enjoy pointless, hyper-violent movies such as Saw (part II and onwards) in which innocent people find a gruesome death. It's just beyond sickening that this is its only appeal.

In conclusion, the only positive thing about these two cinema experiences I can mention is that I got asked my age for the 16+ Afterlife movie at the ticket counter. For the rest I can just recommend skipping these movies, if that's what they can be called.



Commenting on my previous post, it appears that I was correct in saying that the effects from last weekend are at least semi-permanent. Even a few days later now, it does feel like something big has changed, and when I feel around in a mental fashion, I can feel that something inside me has... crumbled, I guess that's the best way to describe it. Exposure to similar impulses as during the traumatic events of the past weekend show a massively increased response, even over 24 hours after the actual event, which is unusual.

In more happy news, I got an email response from Linda Voortman, one of the two Green Left politicians I sent an email to on Thursday. She expressed her interest in talking to me on the subject of intersexuality, apologized for her busy agenda, and I'll soon hear where I'll fit into this agenda. Score one for my lobbying attempts :) I just hope I can get an appointment some time this month.

It seems as though my life seems to revolve around two things at this point: my work on one hand and my efforts to bring awareness on the subject of intersexuality. Where does a personal life fit into this all? I'm not sure I even have one. Back when I was withdrawn into myself I only occupied myself with learning intellectual things, after I got out of it things haven't changed much. I find things outside my work to be extremely tiring, emotionally uncomfortable and generally unpleasant, though I do feel a desire to be able to just enjoy things like playing a video game, an instrument or just to relax.

Is my fight for recognition of intersexuality really the only thing left in my life? Was there even anything else? It seems like I have never really learned to relax, to enjoy something, to not view something with the utmost paranoia, to more or less trust people. Maybe that's why I'm so desperate to finish this war on ignorance, that I may then finally get started on something resembling a life.

Yesterday the American woman who is helping me find a place willing to look at my case sent out the first batch of 20 letters. I can't wait to hear what the responses from the hospitals, universities and such are. Maybe I'll really be going to the US in a month or two, and there they'll finally figure out what's the matter with my body. Maybe this country I currently find myself in really is just located somewhere in Hell and I just didn't notice it until before. I don't want to get my hopes up, but the thought of being a study object at a US university or similar is very appealing to me, so it's hard not to.

Finally some tidbits I can't really place anywhere, but which I have been itching to mention for a while. Friday at the cinema Pieter got asked what my age was, this for the 16+ Resident Evil: Afterlife movie. Sunday at the pool a Chinese woman I talked to before thought I was around 16, maybe 18. It's a nice thing :)


Monday, 11 October 2010


This past weekend was the worst couple of days I have ever experienced. I'm not allowed to divulge in details, but I can say that Saturday morning I suffered one of the worst case of traumatic shock I can remember, and constant exposure to negative triggers without any kind of compensating factors during the days afterwards, leading me to enter a very defensive, highly agitated emotional state.

At the pool yesterday morning I nearly drowned again, as I suffered a paralyzation episode before I had a chance to reach the side of the pool, and once I did I lacked the strength to pull myself out. It took a few minutes for Pieter to realize what was going on and pull me out of the pool. It's weird to see people walk past or lounge in the pool and look at you with one's discomfort clearly visible, and not reaching out to help. Maybe I should just have let go.

Yesterday I noticed that something major has changed inside of me. The headache and feeling of emotional exhaustion accompanying a negative episode and usually paralyzation episode appears to be permanent now. I just can't pull myself out of it. Maybe it'll heal, maybe it'll not. Maybe this weekend finally pushed me over the edge after years of a gradual increase in stress levels. The proverbial straw, so to speak, although this was one massive straw to be quite honest.

My throat still has bruises from my own attempts to strangle myself. It's stupid that I even bother to try it, but what else am I to do? Can't take any pills, and slitting my wrists is so messy and painful. Saturday I walked a few kilometers while in shock and ended up at the beauty salon, as apparently I lack anyone else in this city I know well enough to trust. While on my way, I passed a few bridges and contemplated whether the fall into the water would kill me. Ultimately I decided that it probably would just make me wet, maybe bruise me something nasty, but that it would have to be a taller bridge.

I guess I'm a definite suicide risk now. Yay.


Saturday, 9 October 2010


Occasionally one comes across people who'll do something to help you without asking for anything in return, just because they can help you. Other times people contact you to thank you for something you did for them a while ago, and you don't even really remember any more, but they're still very grateful. Such as this one friend request on Facebook, which included the (edited) message:

"I e-mailed you just under a year ago -- your posts helped the most important woman in my life understand why she wasn't able to learn the way her teachers always expected her to. I'd love to be able to follow your experiences as I don't know of many stronger people out there."

Then there was this one American woman who sent me a friend request (also on Facebook) a while ago, telling me that she had been reading my blog for a while already. Then, in a discussion on the disappointing hospital appointment last Monday, she offered to ask and mail around to see whether any places there in the US may be interested in my case (See discussion). Today I'm going to write the letter she will be sending, and she has already phoned a few places, some of which seemed interested, albeit asking for more details.

I think it's awesome that people like her can just selflessly commit themselves to a task which means so much to another person. It may mean that I will be going to the US in a few months time, to serve there as a study object for doctors there, doctors who will be just as interested in learning the facts about my condition as myself. All because of one helpful person.

Thank you.


Friday, 8 October 2010

Dream: Tearing Off One's Skin

I don't recall the first dream I had, I just woke up after about three hours of sleep, feeling terrible, especially when I realized it was only a bit past 1 AM. I figured I would try to sleep some more, even though part of me rather wanted to get out of bed.

Falling asleep again, I first had a light-hearted-ish dream about meeting people, a restaurant (or cafe), me displaying my wit when I had some girl messing around, taking a boot of mine when I diverted my attention for a second, then running away without it when I went after her. Whenever she said something I made a comment which made the people in the restaurant laugh.

The second part took place in the living room of the house I grew up in, yet it was apparently Pieter's house, as I knew that he was taking the dogs for a walk while I was sitting on the couch, watching TV. What I recall of the living room layout was pretty much the way it always used to be in reality.

For some reason I began to feel really uncomfortable and at some point I found myself tearing at the skin of my right arm, just below the wrist. Somehow the skin had turned very dry, tough and loose, almost like tearing off pieces of cardboard. After tearing off about one-third of the skin on my lower right arm this way I realized what I was doing and crying a bit, I pushed the sleeve of the clothing I was wearing over the damaged area. It didn't bleed or anything, though the muscles were clearly visible.

While sitting there, waiting for Pieter to return home from his walk I noticed that the damaged area began to hurt a bit. I felt somewhat stupid for doing this to myself, but it also felt nice in a way, because it distracted me from the mental pain I felt as well.

Then I noticed Pieter returning home with the dogs, walking on our front lawn. I noticed there was another, older woman with him. She looked about sixty, with white hair, and she was also holding at least one leash with a dog on it. I felt ashamed for a moment because I remembered not having my pants fully on, and she might see it through the window as Pieter and she were standing right at the other side of it. I looked down at my jeans, but they were on properly.

Next Pieter was inside, I didn't see or hear any dogs. I couldn't speak at that point, much like during my paralyzation episodes. I just made noises which Pieter seemed to interpret correctly as to mean that there was something wrong with my right arm. He lifted it and looked at it. Pushing the sleeve back, I could see that while very scarred and scratched, the skin was unbroken and there was no blood. It looked pinkish and healthy. I didn't understand this.

Here I woke up, feeling very distraught and aware of something terrible which will happen soon. So much so that I'm typing this at close to 3 AM after waking up from the last dream at 2.25 AM. I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep more. Not with these nightmares waiting for me...


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Numbing Pain

There are quite a few things lately which are going smoothly, or which are in general positive. I'm still very happy for example with my participation in this TV program of BNN. I think it's one of the more positive things to have happened in my life so far, and could really put the spotlight on my issues and the general plight of intersexual people in this country.

I sent the first of probably many emails to two politicians of the Green Left party in the Netherlands: Linda Voortman and Jesse Klaver. They're involved with health and education, respectively. I'll see what kind of responses I'll get. The points I raised in the email include the Yogyakarta Principles ( which would allow anyone to change one's gender to the desired one without having to undergo surgery or so and which the Netherlands has already promised to implement, I also mentioned the lack of information on intersexuality in the teaching materials and classes at school.

Another idea I have is to create a page at my personal site or so on my efforts, with the groups I created at the Facebook and Hyves social networking sites as a way for people to show their support. Any comments on this? What about adding some buttons or such people can add to their own site/pages to show their support there as well? I'd like some detailed feedback on this, if possible :)

I just finished the first avatar model for TileWars. It's fully modelled, textured and ready to for action now :) It's taken me so long to finish it due to the learning process involved mostly with UVW unwrapping, the 3D painting mode in Photoshop CS5 and some tidbits inbetween, like using normal mapping on the UVW map (back/front) of the model's body to increase the resolution on some parts. I also had my system nearly grinding to a halt because with 3DS and Photoshop running simultaneously while doing some diffuse map painting they took up over a GB of RAM, pushing it uncomfortably close to the 4 GB RAM I have installed in this system. CS5 was also taking incredibly long to apply brush strokes to the diffuse map I was working on, with a lag of tens of seconds between clicking on the spot and having it applied. It's close to infuriating, but fortunately I'm a very patient person :)

The prospect of upgrading to a new system with a faster CPU (currently an X2 4450e at 2.3 GHz, I would like a 6-core X6 Thuban like the 1090T) and more RAM (currently 4 GB, I would like 8-12 GB) isn't in the realm of possibilities yet, however. First I have to struggle on with what I have, then I can upgrade to something better. Money first~

I'm currently home alone, as Pieter is again in Italy for his work until later tomorrow. What I realize is that without someone like him around I really don't have the faintest clue what to do besides working. You could say that the concept of 'relaxation' and 'down time' is completely foreign to me. Or maybe having to abandon purely intellectual activities and switching to something to do with icky emotions is what scares me away. I do notice that when I'm engrossed in intellectual pursuits I feel energetic and perfectly fine. Then, outside those moments I feel my energy draining away, I get strange pains (left side of my head has been hurting again a lot lately) and feel restless.

One thing even more true these past months is that when I think I feel okay in an emotional sense, such as last Monday, I mostly definitely am not. It's just that with the stress and frustration increasing my mind responds by pushing the offending parts even further away into the dark recesses. Even now as I type this I feel this incredible pressure. Many times I find that I have again begun to hyperventilate, all because it's such an emotional turmoil deep inside me. It's a constant panic mode which I can not do anything about but keep the lid on as firmly as possible.

Is it healthy? No. Can I do anything else? Nope. Am I screwed if this continues? You bet I am.


Within Or Without, There Is Only Emptiness

Contentment. Such a simple word, yet so hard to grasp what it really means. Does contentment imply happiness? What does happiness really mean? Isn't it all just a matter of where one stands in life? Isn't all of existence meaningless when it really comes down to it? Then how can terms like contentment, happiness, joy and others be anything but self-delusion?

I have had to re-evaluate the value I assign to my body many times, and most of the time I arrive at the conclusion that I'm a fool for even giving thought to the non-purely practical aspects of having a human body. Why this concern with finding friends, and someone to mate with? There's no point in reproducing since everything dies anyway, and sexuality is just giving in to bestial urges, which do not serve any purpose whatsoever. And aren't friends just a sign that humankind is just so terribly poor at cooperating that only small clumps of people can endure each other's company?

When I think of myself living on my own a number of months from now, I can only imagine me existing the way I do now; all alone in a room, with no friends dropping by, and without a girlfriend living together with me. To even assume that things can be differently is sheer lunacy, merely wishful thinking, not to mention staying optimistic about one's options in the face of crushing reality. Thinking and dreaming about such things only distract.

Maybe contentment and happiness is when you do not feel the emptiness within any more, nor the emptiness without when there are people around who don't merely pass you by on their way through life. Why do I long for this? I assume it's because right now I feel miserable about my current situation, so that anything different and not obviously worse has got to be desirable.

Yet in the end, isn't emptiness the only constant in life?


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Looking For The Silver Lining

I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of hyperventilating. I'm tired of feeling exhausted and irritable. I'm tired of my situation. I'm tired of everything, it seems. The only thing keeping me going at the moment is my work, and even that is getting harder, thanks to feeling so bloody tired all the time. I'm so sick of feeling like I can't get enough oxygen thanks to these suppressed panic attacks resulting in hyperventilating.

Today I got the report from the UMCG hospital on the examination last Monday. It was nothing new to me. I guess my general feelings on the experience can be summed up by my enthusiasm in holding the report. I was holding it by the edges, and felt this incredible urge to wash my hands after touching it, as though it's something filthy. Which in a sense it is, I guess.

I'm very grateful for BNN giving me their acknowledgement and recognition in this situation, enough to spend a lot of money on making a documentary about my situation. I'm glad they were along for the ride on Monday, as otherwise things would have been much worse. I enjoyed talking about the shoot today at the beauty salon/barber shop, where the beautician is showing everyone the pictures her husband took during the shooting. It feels like this way I'm quickly gaining more recognition.

The broadcast is on November 9th, on the Dutch public channel Nederland 3. It will be really interesting to see what the responses on this broadcast will be. Once I get the DVD from BNN I will if I get permission from them subtitle it and put it online. Fortunately YouTube extended the maximum length for videos to 15 minutes, which means that my documentary should just fit :)

October 17th's shoot at the swimming pool got the go ahead; we're welcome to shoot there from 10 to 12. They want to do the interview with my mother around the same time as well, so that may turn out to be a bit of a squeeze. I'll see how it goes. First I have to survive the next two days while Pieter is in Italy and I'm home alone, then the weekend. A good friend of mine promised she'd stay the weekend as well, for support, so things will probably turn out alright. It will be tough, however.

Without the answers I seek about my body I really don't seem to be able to care whether others think I'm attractive, could easily find a suitable girlfriend and so on. I'm stuck with a body I don't understand and stuck in a quest for answers after encountering so much resistence which I do not understand either. I just want to be rid of this body. I want to be rid of this quest. I want to be rid of everything which hurts.

Clearly I'm asking too much.


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pattern Repetition

Yesterday went pretty much as planned. The shooting at the beauty salon went off smoothly, we arrived back at my place in time, did an interview there, then we all left for the UMCG hospital. That's where the original planning kind of ended and turned into more of a 'we'll see' kind of thing. Nothing could have prepared any of us for what happened during the appointment, though.

During the previous appointment Pieter and I had gotten the distinct impression that during yesterday's appointment I'd undergo extensive testing to once and for establish what this something I feel down there actually is. Is it a vagina or something else, basically. What really happened was that only the urologist was present and he explained to us before the examination that he would be performing only the two examinations I already knew about. At that point I realized that this examination would be limited to just determining whether I have a prostate or not.

In short, yes there is a prostate, a really tiny one. Supposedly it's consistent with the hormone therapy I'm using, but the urologist was not able to provide an explanation for why it doesn't work, if it ever did so. There was no mention of a prostate functioning examination. The anesthetic used during the examination of the inside of the urinary tract also turned out to affect me pretty badly after the examination. I had already gotten dressed and was listening to the urologist talking when I noticed I was starting to feel really sick, with sweat covering me, a fuzzy feeling, a general feeling of nausea and blurry vision at some points. The urologist said the anesthetic shouldn't have such an effect, though. I guess I imagined that as well.

After leaving the urology center, Pieter and I encountered the TV crew downstairs and informed them of what had occurred during the appointment. They were as flabbergasted and surprised as we were. After I began to feel less physically ill, we did another interview, talking about the results of the examination, what would happen next and how we felt about it.

There are two sides to this last appointment. The first being that it doesn't really mean or explain anything. There's no explanation for why I have a non-functional prostate, or gained any other relevant facts, ergo it was a fairly useless examination. The other side is that I once again feel like I'm not being taken seriously, pretty much like with every other previous appointment at any hospital before this one. There's also the very real possibility that the UMCG hospital won't offer to do any more examinations or tests after this last series.

Pieter sent Weijmar Schultz an email on this, and a few other topics. Basically the questions were whether this last appointment was really meant to be as brief, whether there will be another series of examinations, what happened to the promise by the radiologist to sent MRI images of males showing the same structure previously indicated by the German clinics as being a vagina, and whether the UMCG via Jiawan is going to help me find an EMDR psychotherapist, as it's virtually impossible to find one for Pieter and me with almost none of them even taking on new patients, let alone finding one who is 'right' for me.

Naturally, by the time I got home I pretty much collapsed. I had another paralyzation episode, cried a lot until I finally went to bed. At least there seems to be progress on another point, namely the whole dating thing of Pieter. I seem to finally have grasped emotionally that I'm just a friend and a guest in this place and that this is the role I should follow. I have completely relied on Pieter to support me emotionally and this is why it is/was so hard for me to take a few steps back.

Some part of me still wishes vehemently that I had a person I could fall back on like that, yet the prospect of me having a successful date which results in a happy, long-term relationship is about as bright as the dark side of the moon.

I guess that solitude is still where it's at. My old friend.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Agenda For Monday, October 4th

Tomorrow is going to be a really busy and exciting day. Here's the schedule:

8.30 - Gathering of the BNN film crew, me and the beautician at the beauty salon. Here the electrolysis treatment will be demonstrated, and the beautician will answer some questions. This should take about half an hour.

9.30 - The film crew and I return to my place where I'll have an interview and we'll look at the MRI images and some other materials.

11.30 - Pieter, I and the film crew leave for the UMCG hospital in Groningen. This is a 1.5 hour drive. We take half an hour extra as buffer in case something goes wrong.

13.30 - Appointment at UMCG hospital. The film crew remains outside the hospital. Start of urological examination. Aside from an ultrasound and other examination of the prostate nothing else is known about what will happen there, let alone how they'll figure out whether I have a vagina or that it is something else. It's also not known when I'll get the results.

After appointment - After Pieter and I leave the hospital there'll possibly be another interview on the results of the examination, after which we'll drive home to my place again. Maybe another interview at my place.

For October 17th when the shooting at the swimming pool will take place I have encountered only enthusiasm for doing an interview among the people I asked. I figured out who to contact to ask for permission to shoot at the swimming pool. By Tuesday this should be settled.

Also, this program I'm appearing in is now definitely called 'Je zal het maar zijn' ('Imagine being like this', roughly translated), and airs on channel 3 (Nederland 3). When the episode featuring me will be aired is still unknown to me.


PTSD As A Logic Trap

Whenever there's something which triggers my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) there forms this lump of pain in my chest. If the trigger is such that it is something long-term, meaning not something I just read, saw or heard and which doesn't indicate a change in my environment, this lump is pretty much the only result. Not that it is easy to bear, mind you. It's like having a gaping wound in your chest which just won't stop hurting, with bandages chafing it every time you move.

The first thing a person would do in response to feeling such a pain inside is to investigate and analyze it, to figure out why it's hurting and how to fix it. If it's something physical one would deduce the probable cause from the symptoms, press in a few places to check for soreness or sensitivity, measure temperature and so on. Things are less straight-forward when it concerns emotional pain.

Logic dictates that something caused this emotional distress and that from this trigger and the form the pain displays one can deduce why it triggered this. Unfortunately this works great for regular discomfort, like not wishing to talk about a particular subject because it's gross, weird or doesn't fit one's mood at that time. It fails spectacularly for significant traumas, like PTSD.

The problem with PTSD is the way it's set up; it's basically a heavily interconnected network of negative feedback and reinforcement triggers and associations. It has all the elegance and ease of understanding of an Escher drawing. Trigger one point in it, and the resulting impulse will travel along the network, dragging one's thoughts along in its wake, going from one node to another, from one negative association to another, in true cascade-style. At each point the general feeling of discomfort keeps increasing until it becomes unbearable.

Where the nasty thing comes into play is that it is utterly and completely impossible to logically analyze this PTSD network, yet it feels so natural to try and analyze why one responds to a certain impulse in such an extreme manner. Yet this is exactly which activates the mechanism. With each step one gets dragged deeper into the maze until it's impossible to extract oneself, or to separate fact from fiction. In a sense it's like getting stuck in Hell itself. Each thought leads to another, which leads to another, each of them seemingly logical, even though when looking back at it after snapping out of it it's totally obvious that such reasoning was utter nonsense.

In the end there are two things one can do about PTSD: the first is blatantly ignoring its call and hope it doesn't trick one into exploring its depth at some unguarded moment (usually when tired, right after waking up, or after another trigger sets of a cascade). The other is to unravel this PTSD network and its false associations. This is what therapies such as EMDR aim to accomplish.

In my case there are a few things which could accomplish this for me, without resorting to EMDR. On the relationship part, experiencing a long-term, positive relationship should help ease things and allow me to grow emotionally in that area. When it comes to sexuality, the foremost things to resolve is to answer the questions about my body. Hopefully tomorrow I'll learn these answers. With these relatively simple things the PTSD network I'm struggling with should be a lot less complex and dangerous to me.


Saturday, 2 October 2010


If my life were a marathon, this would be the point where the runner realizes that he's past his endurance point and all he can do is ignore the pain while hoping that the finish is around the next bend in the road. Like this runner has to convince himself that it's worth it to put another foot in front of the other, similarly I have to convince myself that it's worth it to get up each morning, that it's worth it to work, that it's worth it to eat and drink.

The next bend I see coming up is this appointment on Monday and I find myself praying that it means the end of this struggle. What if I round this bend and there's no finish again? Will I be able to continue, in the hope that the finish will be around the next bend in the road?

Pieter has picked this moment to start dating a woman, which really messes with my head as my emotional side with all its traumas refuses to acknowledge or accept this. Yet I would have had to take distance from him anyway as I'll be living on my own starting next year. Assuming I'm still alive by then, of course.

What reason did I have this morning to get out of bed? None, really. I had some serious emotional breakdowns shortly after waking up, woke up Pieter with my bawling, had a long talk which doesn't feel like it has really calmed down my emotional side, and my nerves feel so taut they could snap at any moment. Oh, and there's still this voice urging me to just stop running, to give up this marathon and simply admit defeat. I have tried long enough. It's okay now.

Two more days? Maybe I'll actually make it. I sure hope there's a finish after this bend...


Friday, 1 October 2010

Texture Creation with Photoshop CS5

The past few days I have spent on figuring out how to use the 3D painting functionality in Photoshop CS5, and now that I know how it works it's pretty easy :D Consider this to be a quick primer on how to do the basics. If you don't do 3D modelling let alone ever use Photoshop this may be a tad boring.

Obviously the first step is to create a 3D model in your favourite 3D modelling tool. I use 3D Studio Max 2010. Once you have finished the plain, untextured model, we need to do a few things before we can start painting it, the first ensuring that each separate mesh has its own texture maps attached to it. In 3DS you do this by assigning a material to each mesh (Material Editor, create a material for each mesh and assign it).

After this select the whole model (all meshes) and apply an Unwrap UVW modifier. This will allow you to unwrap the UVW coordinates map and tweak it. In 3DS we then hit the big Edit... button in the UVW unwrap roll-out and under Tools we use the Flatten Mapping option which gives us a nicely ordered UVW coordinates map, with no overlap between the different parts. If there are any flaws in this mapping, now is the time to correct them. See any of the available tutorials for this :)

With a nicely modelled and unwrapped object we now use the export or save function to save to any of the 3D object formats Photoshop CS5 supports, which includes 3DS, OBJ, KMZ, and a few others. You'll probably end up using 3DS or OBJ; I used 3DS as CS5 doesn't support the current 3DS format (MAX).

In CS5, open the file using the regular 'Open...' function, it should now open and display the model. You can use the 3D navigation tools to move the model or camera around. If the model looks right we can continue. Otherwise you may want to correct any flaws in 3DS or whichever 3D modelling application you use. Verify that each mesh has its own material assigned to it.

There are a few ways to paint on the model. I prefer to position the model so that I can see the part I want to paint on, then create a new layer on top of the first one and paint on that using the regular painting tools (brushes mostly). After I finish painting I right-click the top layer and choose 'Merge Down', which merges the layer with the model layer, essentially adding it to the diffuse map. This assuming that the 'Paint On' option was set to diffuse. Check the 3D menu option, or the 3D panel (Window -> 3D).

You should now be able to paint the model with ease. It's very much like the regular 2D painting, just that you have to do each side of the object instead of just one. Also compare this method to the old way, which involved taking the UVW coordinates map you created during the unwrapping phase, colouring in the pieces on it while keeping track of what goes where and in what orientation, then using it as the model's texture. You may realize that doing things that way is far more error-prone and time-consuming than doing things the way I just described.

After you create the textures, just double-click their entries in the Layers panel to open them in a tab and save them to the desired format. You can then use them in your 3D modelling application.

Anyway, I hope that this brief tutorial may be useful to someone. Please leave a comment if it did :)