Most people of my generation will be familiar with that scene from The Matrix, where Agent Smith tells our protagonist the following:
"It seems that you've been living two lives. One life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, pay your taxes, and you... help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not."
A life of two identities, two lives lived by the same person, keeping up a different face for each of them, as one can not bear the other. Both separate, and yet intertwined.
I feel like this too, only there was no free choice for me. The 'Thomas' part, of being a law-abiding citizen is a given. That's what you need to be accepted in society. I got that pat down, with the identity of a capable software developer thrown into the mix as well, making for a respectable identity. It's an identity people can admire and approve of.
Then the 'Neo' part for me is not so much that I chose to go into the dark side myself, but something which happened. There are a lot of 'if's here. If physicians would have helped me right away. If psychologists had helped me at all. If politicians I contacted had done something. If society had known more about intersex already. If I hadn't been born intersex. If I hadn't been born at all. If the medical specialists had done their job I wouldn't be writing this. I wouldn't be in court on September the 24th in a hearing against the VUmc gender team. I never picked any of it.
Worst of all is that it has forced my life to take two distinctly different paths simultaneously. Two identities to keep up. The 'Thomas' identity can not reveal anything of the 'Neo' identity. The other way around the 'Thomas' identity has no relevance to the 'Neo' identity. Living two lives like this is hard. One life is hard enough to live, but living two lives which directly contradict and oppose each other... it's trying to achieve the impossible. One makes the other look like a mere dream, while the other way around it makes the former look like a twisted nightmare.
The past years I have more and more often elected to get rid of the side which I feel has no future: specifically the 'Neo' identity. It's a dead-end, in the most literal sense. It's a life of total despair, of hate, blood, gore, suicide and mutilation. In comparison the 'Thomas' identity is about as close to the 'perfect family with white picket fence' stereotype one can get.
As I'm heading out tomorrow on a two-week trip to Germany for my work including to the BMW offices in Munich I'm reminded of this ever so strongly again. While I'm there in the capacity of a team member on this project. There's no room for any 'Neo'. It can not exist or show itself.
One could say that this 'Neo' is merely a magnification of one's personal life, and this wouldn't be incorrect. However, the average person has a personal life which hardly gets more exciting than picking the right brand of pasta sauce at the store after work. My personal life is more akin to a hefty medical thriller. It's become larger than life.