Train journeys tend to the be the time when one has the most opportunity to reflect upon matters and life in general. While in the train from Munich yesterday and again today when leaving Karlsruhe to travel back to the Netherlands I definitely had such time to reflect. Yesterday I began to entertain the notion that I just might find a home again after all these years. In a few very different ways.
As a child I had my own room. I'd have my toys in there, my bed and desk. I'd spend time playing indoors or outdoors on the farm my parents owned. I'd feel safe in my room, but outside it as well. The village I grew up in felt just big enough, but I did feel quite safe there. I got bullied at primary school and generally felt like the odd one out there. Yet there always was my home to return to. Even if my room was an explosion of toys with just a few meandering paths through it, and the walls and beams never properly got painted since the house was built, it was still my home.
I don't recall the house before it, which stood on the same place but burned down when I was still very young. It wasn't my home, so I did not miss it. Yet even the place I called home slowly changed as I became a teenager, eventually finishing high school. As I lost my direction after finishing high school this home became more and more restrictive. My room became something it should never have become, namely my world. Internet was literally my only connection with the outside world. It was still my room, but it was my prison in a sense.
Things gradually went downhill from there. My parents' divorce didn't come as a shock to me. I had felt the atmosphere in the house change long before that, with my dad becoming very distant. I just took it with the rest of everything. Moving to another home with my mother was tough. I had lost every connection with the place I once called my home. Clinging to the possessions I had taken with me I dreamed of a day when I'd have a real home again. During that time I completely lost interest in my outward appearance. My hair grew very long, looking unhealthy, with my skin and general appearance emulating a ghost. I got my driver's license during that time, but I have no idea how I managed that in such a state.
Moving again, I thought maybe I'd find a home there. Instead it became another prison, though I also found out what was the matter with me, physically at least. During the next years, as I travelled to Norway, Canada and through the Netherlands I never once found a home. There were just places where I stayed while I tried to protect the other home I had kept up till that point: my physical body. As Dutch physicians and psychologists launched assault after assault at my sense of self, it began to crack and crumble. I had thought for over two decades that I was a boy, until I found out otherwise, then those findings got cast into doubt. Instead it was me who was being delusional.
What could I do? I found some solace in Germany where a clear and concise conclusion told me everything I needed to know about my body. Finally things seemed to resolve themselves.
Looking back, the first thing I should have done back then is leave the Netherlands. The sad part is that migrating costs money, and I had virtually none. Canada didn't work out, Australia didn't either. I just kept drifting. Maybe these two weeks I was in Germany reminded me of that, with me staying in two locations during this week. Getting used to a new environment, dealing with house and flatmates. Knowing that you're just there for the moment.
The past one and a half decade I haven't had a place to call home. Maybe my medical efforts wouldn't have scarred me so deeply if I had had a home and a loving family and/or friends. While my mother supported me all the way, that didn't make it a home or family. Just another place to stay until the next move.
The upcoming move to Germany will be my... let's see, moved twice in the Netherlands, to Canada and back, five moves within the Netherlands... tenth move. On average that means moving once every year since 2003.
I really need this migration to Germany to be the final one for a very long time. This time it may actually work out too. I have a well-paying job, the company I work for is helping me find a house in the Karlsruhe area and everyone there is very supportive. On top of that it's the only country so far which has actually provided me with real medical care. It was kind of tough for me to leave today for the train station, as I don't know how it'll go from here. When I'll be back.
I'm sure it'll work out with finding a house. It may even be the new home I have been looking for for so long. One thing which makes me apprehensive is the judgement of the current German surgeon I'm in contact with as he looks through my medical file and MRI scans. To me this is even more important than the secondary home. I so need my body back.
In the ICE train back from Köln to the Netherlands I sat next to a law student from Amsterdam. I ended up talking with her about things and as always seems to happen also about my situation. It's just impossible to avoid the elephant in the room, I guess. She was very nice about it, though. The way I described it to her was that I started off with a medical question and it should essentially end with the resolution of this question, which should be with this final surgery. The legal matters and such... that's all secondary. What matters is that I leave the Netherlands, get real medical help and rebuild my life.
That way I'll both have my primary (body) and secondary (house) home back.
I don't like to think that I may have to keep drifting for another decade or longer...