Wednesday, 31 December 2014

To Be Suffused With The Negativity Of Existence

About a month ago I published a short story on my Scribd account [1] involving a romantic/love story. As I mentioned in the blog post related to it [2] I basically used my own personality and doubts as the template for the main character. The focus on negativity, on degrading oneself in comparison with others and always finding blame with oneself regardless of the situation. I like to think of myself as an optimist, but below a thin layer of cheerful optimism looms the darkest, most negative thoughts one could imagine.

Through compliments I have been told that I am smart, intelligent, well-educated, pretty, beautiful, polite and so on and on. Yet against this darkest of dark everything rings hollow and false, even if I know these things to be (at least partially) true. Considering the projects I work on, the quality of my writings, my vocabulary and ease with which I make new concepts and skills my own, I must be at least reasonably intelligent. As for my physical qualities, that's too subjective and is to me more dependent on my current mood than on any kind of objective measure.

Two days ago I had convinced myself to break through my negative views on physicians and at least contact my family doctor regarding the monthly pains which had become especially bad after running out of the anti-conception pill. That same day I got an email response from this same doctor to an earlier email I had sent, when she was still on vacation. She invited me to come over for an appointment the next day. To me this felt like a minor victory already as I had assumed that she'd want to have nothing to do with me any more after suffering the humiliation at the hospital earlier this year.

During yesterday's appointment my doctor checked me over with an ultrasound scan, making sure she couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, especially after I had mentioned the possibility of endometriosis [3] to her as an explanation for the widespread, long-lasting symptoms. While she was able to give me a clean bill of health, she told me to contact my gynaecologist about it for further options in terms of examinations and the like.

Negativity aplenty. While during the about hour-long appointment with my doctor she was able to defuse my worries and concerns, prescribing me refills for all of my medication including the pill, the thought of re-establishing contact with my gynaecologist looms up like a massive obstacle of utter negativity.

Last time I had an appointment with my gynaecologist it was before the MRI scan earlier this year with the disastrous and humiliating outcome [4] in which the physician - after conversing with a Dutch colleague - decided to side with the Dutch version of MRI interpretations and deny that I have any female genitals. To face my gynaecologist after this is incredibly hard. Will he think that I'm a liar? Maybe delusional as the Dutch physicians and psychologists have maintained for the past years?

If it's really endometriosis there's really little which can be done about it anyway, beyond hormone therapy which consists mainly out of taking the anti-conception pill as I'm already doing. There's no cure, just treatment to reduce the symptoms and manage a life filled with monthly pain. There's no real point in visiting a gynaecologist in that case. Same with that whole humiliating struggle between Dutch and German physicians on whether I do or do not have female genitals. There won't ever be a conclusion on that no matter where I go or who I talk to.

The thing about negativity is really that it's hard to define where the negativity starts and the pragmatism begins. To a less experienced person pragmatism is easily mistaken for negativity as they lack the proper frame of reference to judge the issue from. I have sadly the benefit of over a decade of first-hand experiences with trying to find medical help for this intersex body of mine and based upon that in the first place physicians simply aren't interested in rare cases like mine and second they couldn't care less about the person behind the patient, let alone their mental agony.

When I describe the negative way the main character in the referenced short story thinks about herself, it's pretty much exactly how I feel and think. When I see other, pretty women, I can't help but feel pain and maybe somewhat jealous of them and their physical features while feeling clumsy, big and ugly myself. More like a freak of nature than anything 'normal'. Socially I feel awkward, just like this character, preferring to escape a situation when things become weird or awkward than to stick around.

The one positive thing my family doctor did accomplish yesterday together with the friends I hung out with at the hackerspace last night was to fix the negative feelings towards Germany in general, leading to me seriously considering leaving here. I really wouldn't mind staying here for a while longer, I think. All depends on getting a new job early next year, preferably still in Karlsruhe, and finding a better place to live in than my current noise- and trigger-filled apartment.

I'm a firm believer that to think positive one has to surround oneself with positivity, just like being surrounded by negativity as I have been for the past decade suffuses a person with the darkest thoughts and doubts like oil sticks to a bird unlucky enough to land on it. In my case it are this medical uncertainty and the related doubts about myself as a person as well as my self-image which cling to me like this choking, toxic oil, draining me of my energy and positivity.

Next year I'll try to keep fighting to change this. To get rid of this clinging pollution. Much like an oil-stricken bird I cannot do this alone, however. My intent for 2015 is thus to keep fighting while hoping that it'll be the first year that I get the help which will allow me to reach that major breakthrough.



Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Those For Whom There's No Real Home

I have never truly felt at home in the Netherlands. As a child it was somewhat okay, as I was sheltered from most of it by my surroundings. Yet as I got older I just got stuck feeling isolated without friends and contacts in the country. Then I began to experience the sheer intolerance and almost aggressively dismissive attitude by both health professionals and politicians. This led to me finding a measure of tolerance and help in Germany which I had hoped for but never suspected existed. Before that I had already tried to escape the Netherlands once, ending up in Canada. Unfortunately that didn't work out.

After that I tried to escape more times, at one point being this close to putting my last savings into a plane ticket to Australia, but deciding at the last moment to not risk it. It wasn't until I got a job offer in Germany last year that I had a clean and easy way out. It's been over a year now since I left the Netherlands and I'm still glad to have left that country behind me for good.

Now that I have to find a new job due to unfortunate circumstances I find myself in the situation where I get a lot of job offers from mostly the UK. After putting my CV on last Sunday I have been emailed by almost a dozen headhunters already, for various positions, most of them involving some kind of C/C++ and embedded activities. This is just what I was looking for, to be honest. It's put my mind wondering about possibly moving to the UK next year, and all the logistics and changes that would bring.

While I wouldn't mind living again in a country where I am more than just fluent in the national language which still has a decent health system (for now) and just some funky power plugs for which I'd have to buy a few metric loads of adapters, it does remind me of how far away the concept of 'home' for me truly is. I feel more like a nomad, to be honest. Just staying in a place for a little while to then pack up and move again. Considering that on average I have moved every year for the past decade or so, plus a few times before that, it's not so surprising.

Although Germany so far is immeasurably more pleasant to live in than the Netherlands and I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit at home - to the point that if I just had a nicer place to live in (less noise/fewer PTSD triggers), I could see myself living here for a number of years - I know that I'd feel probably pretty much the same if I lived in the UK. There's no real place that binds me.

I would love to settle in a nice place, have a great house and transition there from working full-time for someone else to working just for myself. It could happen, but first I'd have to find such a place. I'm not sure where this place would be, this place called 'home'. I should know it when I see it, however.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Knowing Oneself And One's Mortality


It's one of those heavy words which people try to squirm around using euphemisms and flowery junk philosophy. The fact of the matter is that while some organisms on this Earth are in fact immortal, humans are not among them. This means that from the moment we're born, we live in the knowledge that gradually our body's capacity to function will degrade until eventually systematic organ failure or similar will take out the entire system which composes each of our bodies at which point our existence will cease.

Considering that the average human in Western Europe lives into their 70s, that means that when you approach the age of 40, you have practically lived half of your allotted lifespan already. It's a sobering thought in many ways. When I look at what I have accomplished and lived through during the past three decades, I can see that while I have more experienced in those three decades than many humans ever will, most of that time has been spent on just being confused and uncertain about how to define this body of mine and how to define my 'self'.

As a child I first realized just how fleeting my own existence is because of my mortality. I could see my existence flare up and be extinguished again like a brief, single point of light in this massive universe. It was the accompanying feeling which drove me to reconsider and look at what I really wanted to accomplish in this minute lifespan that I would likely be able to live through. The only thing which made sense to me in light of this overwhelming feeling was to simply learn everything there is to learn about the universe and everything in it.

The fact of the matter is that to every important question involving this universe I can only simply answer with 'I don't know yet'. The way I thus learned to define the point of existence was to first realize that in order to answer something, one must understand the matter the question applies to. One cannot answer the truly important questions in life before knowing and understanding everything there is to know about the universe.

Naturally, this realization led me back to the issue of the so very brief human lifespan. Roughly 70 years, of which at least twenty will be wasted away on account of being a child followed by the stringent requirements and assumptions of society. Assuming one stays in good health until the end of one's life, that leaves maybe fifty years. I lost one entire decade already because I tried to find answers to the questions about my body and self, for which offence I was severely punished. That's forty years, give or take, which are left to me to accomplish the first step in truly beginning to learn about the universe: this being the matter of expanding my natural lifespan, if not accomplish immortality.

Next to this I have to also face that I do not have answered the questions about what this body is exactly, with the conclusion of it being a hermaphroditic body being heavily contested by virtually every single physician and psychologist in the Netherlands. While I would like to know the answer and find closure, if only to stop the constant harassment from physicians and the like, I have to admit that after wasting a decade of my life on the matter, I may have to just look ahead and realize that in probably a few decades I'll either be dead or have shed this biological form for something else, at which point the question of what this body is no longer matters beyond as an unpleasant memory.

Maybe it's better for me to use this loathing I feel towards this body of mine as an incentive to quickly reach the stage where I can abandon it. At any rate I'll not be sorry to slip out of this shell into something without negative connotations. Something which I can actually control instead of it being controlled by others. The core of the issue is that being human and part of human society isn't helping me in any way. I get no support when I want to get answers to these questions about what and who I am, instead I'm brainwashed into believing lies about myself. In other ways I do not fit in either.

I have had people get angry at me for admitting that I'm seeking to become immortal. They condemn it as being 'unnatural' and 'disrupting the natural balance'. Even though I can so clearly see how everything should fit together and explain to myself why it is the right way, I cannot explain it to others. Just another item to add to the bitterness I feel towards humans and humanity in general, I guess. They do not wish to see. They cannot see. They are blind. Only those who realize the questions can seek for the answers and learn to see in order to find them.

I do not care whether people laugh at me, call me crazy, dismiss my thoughts as childish fantasies or prize my 'lively imagination' (meaning to say 'you should grow up already'). I know what I have seen and experienced. Me trying to find answers to what this body is and how to define my body and myself in human terms was an attempt by me to try and fit into human society. Clearly this has failed and I will live as a hermit for as long as I remain a human being. Considering my long-term goals, this can be seen as acceptable.

I would have liked that if I do transcend from a human body into something less frail, that I could look back upon this first stage of my existence as something not so utterly negative and hateful, though. So far humanity has sadly proven to be an utter and complete disappointment in every sense of the word.


Why Ikea Germany Should Get A Customer Service

This year I have placed two orders with the German branch of Ikea via their website in order to furnish my apartment. The first order was the biggest one, of a few thousand Euro, allowing me to just have the basic necessities, such as a bed, a table and something to organize my meagre belongings. The second order was to fill this out some, with a drawer set and storage rack for my office, poster frames and some other small items which I still needed.

With both orders I had opted to pay using 'EC-Karte', i.e. by giving Ikea a one-time permission to withdraw the amount owned from my bank account. The first time this worked without problems, yet the second time something strange occurred. It all started when a short while after the second delivery I got a bill delivered by mail from Ikea for this second order. Naturally this was kinda puzzling, especially because there was no further explanation or details provided with the bill. Upon attempting to contact the service department at Ikea Germany by email, I got an automated response informing me that they were 'very busy' and that it could take a month or more for them to respond.

Worse was that I had also found out that the drawer set and one of the poster frames have been severely damaged during transport, with the former practically destroyed. I didn't even have to open the box for it, as the box had been ripped open and many of the parts inside had been destroyed along with it. I contacted Ikea Germany's service department about this (now about two months ago) and I merely got an automated response saying that (again) they were very busy and that it could take a long time. I should just go to my nearest Ikea location and exchange it there, it said. Not easy to do when you're practically working two full-time jobs, though.

The past months I received a reminder from Ikea about the bill after which I tried to contact their customer service again, again without a response, though this time the auto-respond message said that they'd reply in a few days. Not that this happened, though. This week I got the expected letter from a debt collection agency as apparently that's one 'customer service' thing which does work at Ikea. I sent this agency copies of the delivery sheet and filled-in form which gave Ikea permission to withdraw the amount from my bank account.

Then things got interesting. The debt collector claimed that Ikea had contacted me by phone during which it was agreed by Ikea and me that because the bank info on the form was incorrectly filled in, they'd send me a bill by mail. I responded by expressing severe confusion as I had no recollection of this occurring. I even checked my phone's call history to make sure that I had not received a call on the date they mentioned. My call history for that day was empty, so I wasn't losing my mind after all.

Later that day I got the final plot twist, as the next email from the debt collector confessed that they had interpreted the writing from Ikea improperly and that Ikea had tried to call me, but that the phone number was apparently incorrect. After that they had sent the bill to me. Because at this point it was overwhelmingly clear that I had acted properly and that Ikea had been severely negligent, I got offered to just transfer the original amount for the order to their account so that the case could be closed. I was more than happy to comply with this offer.

Even though I had been on the right side of contract law during this entire (months-long) ordeal, it was still quite harrowing. The accusations made against me by Ikea (directly and indirectly) were most unpleasant, suggesting that I was essentially a thief and contract-breaker. I'm glad that in the end it worked out and that it didn't cost me more than severe frustration and some time on my side. Maybe that this experience will teach Ikea Germany something as well, something about proper procedure to follow when one wishes to change the content of a formal purchase agreement, such as the payment method.

The main problem with Ikea Germany appears to be their absence of any kind of customer service, however. Even with the payment issue now hopefully fully resolved, I am still stuck with two broken products which they still have to replace, especially now that the purchase has been finalized. This will be the next step, though I'm not sure that I'll have any other option but to head to an Ikea myself to exchange it. Considering that I also got a gift card from Ikea for my first purchase which I can only use in a physical store, I'll probably just have to bite that bullet. I'm hoping to hitch a ride with others when they head to an Ikea within the coming time.

File this one under 'I wish there was an Ikea alternative in Germany', I guess.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Just Killed A Man

The past months I have been dreaming more and more frequently and more intensely during my sleep. Last night's dreams were definitely among the most vivid and unique I can remember, however, and probably for a good reason.

The last dream I had was simple but still quite detailed. In it I was cycling down a path on a nice summer's day. Ahead of me I could see that someone had painted up a sign with 'careful, bee nest' written on it, only it didn't say 'bee' but something else ('beeleyne?') which I nevertheless knew meant just that. Narrowly avoiding the sign and nest which had been formed around the parts of a tree's roots which protruded from the ground, I went on my way. Then suddenly I felt a sting on the right side of my neck and brushed with the thick gloves I had in my left hand at what I presumed was a bee.

Not having much luck with the gloves, I reached over with a bare hand and pinched the bee's body between my fingers and pulled, drawing its intestines behind it and ultimately its stinger. Knowing that I still had its toxins inside of me, I pinched around the affected area and squeezed until something came out. It was fluid, though, but a glass or similarly transparent container containing a slightly yellowish transparent fluid which I presumed was the toxin. I showed it to a companion who commented on it.

The first dream I recall from last night was quite different. I was running through this complex, clearing hallway after hallway and making my way through darkened rooms. Meanwhile I was taking out people I knew to be enemies left and right using nothing but some random tools I had picked up on the way. As I used these techniques using regular screwdrivers and the like with lethal effect, I found myself reminiscing the great skill with these techniques of another person, presumably my teacher or some idol.

I don't know why I was there or what my exact goal was, only that I had to make my way somewhere to accomplish something important. Then I found myself in a more enclosed room and heard someone approaching. I had to take out this guy quickly and stealthily. Just hitting and running as I had done up till that point wasn't an option any more. Awaiting the right opportunity I picked a particularly lethal tool from my collected bundle and with the selected screwdriver or similar in my hand I returned to waiting motionlessly.

Surprising the enemy as he entered within my reach, I quickly used the tool in my left hand to stab through the underside of his jaw into what I hoped would be his brain. This was also when I got my first good look at the guy, something which I hadn't had the chance for with the others. He was young, with narrow features and short, blonde hair. As the surprise on his face got replaced by the realization of what was going on, his eyes went wide as he gasped in shock. My only feelings at this point were ones of duty, with in a distant corner of my mind a profound sadness that this person had to die, only because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I even felt revulsion as I got to see my handy work up close.

Stabbing a few more times, with each motion evoking choking, sobbing noises from the guy I could see his eyes take on a panicked look until ultimately the light in them vanished as death claimed him. Dropping the body, I moved on with my mission.

From this dream I awoke with my heart pounding in my chest and feeling somewhat sickened. It had all been so perfectly vivid and real and unlike the average dreams this sequence of me killing this person refused to fade upon awakening.

I don't know what either of these dreams mean, if anything. The one involving the bee toxins could be considered a classic one involving the drawing of something unhealthy, i.e. a toxin, from one's body which would represent removing an imaginary toxin from one's mind. The latter is a lot more unclear, as I wasn't killing the representation of anything, or at least I had no such feeling or connection. It wasn't related to rage or losing control, either, as I was perfectly in control and felt nothing even related to anger or rage. Just the sensations of sadness and revulsion. I guess you could say I was acting out the role of a humane assassin, maybe.

In the end it was a very interesting night, filled with some dreams I'm sure I'll be puzzling on for a while.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

PTSD: Ashamed Of Being Afraid All The Time

Returning home earlier from work, I was initially glad to be back indoors now that it's getting pretty chilly outside. Then I heard it again.

*thump* *thump* *thump*

I could feel some part of my mind shrivel up in fear at the sound of this. Then the sound stopped for a moment and I felt the tension fade again. Readying to prepare dinner I had music playing in the background. This always helps to drown out the sounds some. Yet today it wasn't enough.

*thump* *thump*    *thump* *thump* *thump*

Every thump sending a jolt through my body, instinctively reacting to this perceived threat. Part of my brain was screaming at me to start running, that I had to get away from here right now, yet I realized that I couldn't run away. This is my home. There's nowhere to go. I realized that I was making panicked noises again as tears began to flow down my cheeks. Before I knew it I was crying in fear and terror. Any moment now. It'd happen any second. Got to get away.

Then rage. I would show them. Fight back. Anger. Determination. Ready to counter with force. This followed by the realization that none of this was an option and feeling the urge to just destroy this body as my final defence. I admitted to myself repeatedly that I felt really terrified. Then finally dinner was ready and I could sit in front of my computer with headphones on and music playing. The tension was still there, but fading with nothing but my own, controlled environment to worry about. Only the sounds and other stimuli which I expect.

There's a reason why I have been toying with the idea of writing the landlady or janitor or whoever a letter describing my daily terrors in my own apartment. From the *tick* *tick* of the heating system to the *thump* *thump* of walking, toilet usage and sometimes entire conversations from the upstairs neighbours, most of the time that I'm at home I'm either wearing headphones or put in earplugs when I want to sleep. Even earplugs don't keep out the thumping noise, though. I often find myself fearfully listening whether I didn't just hear it whilst lying in bed. Falling asleep is mostly a matter of getting the terror down to a level where I feel safe enough to sleep.

I'm not proud of living like this. I feel ashamed. Humiliated. I'm tired of feeling like a caged animal, agitated and restless every second I'm awake, mostly because of noises around me. I feel ashamed because I'm apparently the only one. Everyone else seems to take noises like these and worse in stride and can ignore it. For me it's as easy to ignore as getting kicked into an active battlefield is. Once a noise or similar trigger activates my fight-or-flight mechanism there's no escape for me any more. First I want to run. Get away from it, which is usually impossible. Then I feel the need to fight back. Making noises myself in revenge. Breaking things so that they stop making noise. Anything to make the threat go away. Then the collapse as I realize it's all impossible and futile.

There's obviously something very wrong with me that I cannot live with things everyone else has no trouble with. I must be deeply mentally disturbed if something like a ticking heating system or hearing upstairs neighbours walk around makes me want to claw open my own skin.

I can't let others show these weaknesses, though. They will abuse it. They always will. Can't trust others. Never again. More tears as I realize how deep my paranoia and distrust towards others around me goes. I want to be able to trust humans again, but I realize I likely never will do so again. The realization how cut off I am from society as a whole.

Knowing that I feel like this because I am still being herded towards my death - preferably by my own hands - by actively denying me medical care for my intersex condition and instead damaging me psychologically to the point where I will break. I cannot otherwise explain why I'm being fed two completely opposing conclusions by the medical world, with likely one the truth and the other a complete and utter lie. Or maybe both are lies. All to break my spirit.

I'm so ashamed. Ashamed of being like this. Paranoid. Delusional. Obsessed. Of being terrified of everything and everyone. Of being a dysfunctional human being in so many ways. And yet in the knowledge that the only thing that is wrong with me is this post-traumatic stress disorder. A disorder caused by the systematic maltreatment and brainwashing by physicians without knowing why.

I don't know why. I don't know anything. There's only the constant feeling of terror. Of knowing that the next horrible, agonizing thing will happen any second now.

*thump* *thump* *thump*

Any moment now. Can't be long now.

*tick* *tick* *tick*

Can't you hear it? It's right there. Better start running.

*thump* *thump*

Nowhere to go? What a shame. Nobody cares.

*tick* *tick*

Huddled in a corner, crying like you just witnessed the slaughter of your entire family and barely escaped with your own life. What a crybaby. How shameful.

Just some sounds. Nobody would get so upset about that. You're pathetic.

The thing that frightens me most is that the only time I can remember in my entire life when I felt the most calm and most at peace with myself was when the pressure had become too much and I was readying myself to take these beautiful white pills which would end my life right then and there. That was over three years ago.

The one moment I was in control of my own life. Of my own destiny. That's all gone now and only fear and terror remains. It's all I will know for the rest of my life, because I am not allowed to feel in control of my own life. The medical community and everyone else will make sure of that. It's them versus me.

I'm ashamed of who I am. Of what I am. Of being weak. Of allowing everyone to do this to me. I feel humiliated at having to make such a confession, but I also know that I need to hang on and send out a cry for help if there still is a possibility of help.

I realize it's better to feel ashamed and humiliated than to feel nothing any more and give up. I still pray and hope that having been born with this intersex body doesn't mean that I will have to die, even after ten years of everyone around me doing their utmost to prove that the only way to escape is to take my own life. It's the only way off this battlefield. The only way to stop feeling afraid. The only way to find peace with myself.

I don't want to believe that.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

You're All Freaks; Reviewing Nature Vs Nurture

The 'nature vs nurture' debate has always been something which has intrigued me from a young age. Partially because the concept that at least part of our preferences, behaviours and biases might be encoded in our very genes and thus translated into neural structures as our bodies develop in the womb. Partially because it means that by tweaking the physical layout of our neural pathways we can modify the way we think, react and what we prefer. Many scientists and less-than-scientific individuals have attempted to use this principle to 'fix' various disorders and conditions attributed to wrong wiring in the brain. The more cruel approaches here involved electroshock therapy and lobotomies.

What part of a person's behaviour and preferences are taught and thus able to be changed has also long been a topic of debate, with some refusing to acknowledge the genetic contribution even long after such a connection has been proven, as is the case with for example sexual preference where a distinct part of the brain has been shown to infer this preference for a sexual partner. To some extent one can override these neural-encoded preferences via conditioning, also known as 'brainwashing'. This underlies the 'therapies' being offered to desperate parents of children who have shown a sexual preference for a partner with whom they'd not be able to reproduce.

Brainwashing is something I am sadly intimately familiar with. First there was the brainwashing out of ignorance about my true condition for the first 21 years of my life, whereby the facade was kept up that I was a boy even as during puberty the first major cracks in this lie began to appear, while my body and appearance increasingly became more mismatched with the falsehood being kept up. Then another decade would follow in which active brainwashing was applied by the medical profession in the Netherlands.

It only needed some bright lights shining into my face to complete the image, and some doctor or psychologist yelling into my face with specks of saliva flying into my face as my hands were tied behind my chair. As it was I might as well have been trapped in some KGB or CIA secret prison and subjected to daily torture and brainwashing sessions. There was no room for discussion or compromise. I absolutely, completely, beyond any shade of doubt was a boy, biologically and in appearance. The medical results I had brought back from German private clinics? Utter nonsense, the imaginings of incompetents. I was shown the MRI images over and over as they pointed out that nothing could be seen on it.

I'm a boy. I'm a male. I'm a guy. When I look into the mirror I see a guy. Everything about me is male. Even when friends, colleagues and random strangers see me as a woman, I'm still a guy. When I'm dating lesbian women, I'm still just a guy. Thus speaks the brainwashed part of my brain.

Catching sight of my profile in a window's reflection or similar I'm often hit by the fact that I look like a woman. That I have curvatures which can only be described as 'female'. That my voice is considered to be that of a female, even by random strangers. When shopping for clothes I have to go for women's clothing and realize again that I have such boring dress sizes that I can pick anything and know it'll just fit. I'm a woman, then?

Growing up, I always knew something was wrong. That I wasn't really a boy. My mother and grandmother shared that feeling, as they told me later. Clearly my genes were fighting back against the unintentional brainwashing as the male gender role was being rejected.

Now, after a string of successes in getting my official gender and first name changed, many things have normalized now that my name, appearance and official gender are finally in alignment. Not having to explain my situation to flustered assistants and officials is a major relief. Yet the brainwashed part of my brain is still informing me that I'm just a guy.

It often feels like my psyche has fallen apart into three pieces, many years ago. One is the part which is the 'I'm a guy' part and although it's been losing in influence the past years, it's still there. There's also the 'I'm a woman' part, which is about as self-assured and confident as a 6-year old girl being sent by herself to fetch some groceries for her mother for the first time.

Then there's the part which is simply put the 'hermaphrodite' part and may be the one true part of myself. It feels the most stable and... normal, I'd say. Though it comes with its own set of complications. As I have learned to see myself as having a normal (male, then female) body, this has significantly affected the way I see others. At this point, to me there's clearly only one 'normal' type of body: that of a hermaphrodite, i.e. a woman with also male genitals. Seeing a naked male is just... bizarre, like it's some kind of alien. The spindly form, without any hips or breasts looks almost comical. Similarly, a naked woman looks almost normal to me, just with some genitals missing.

This is the part where I'm not really sure where nature ends and nurture begins. Of course I have had no one teach me what it's like to be a hermaphrodite, or to feel like one, so that has to be something genetic. The way I regard the bodies of plain men and women might also be genetic, or something I have taught myself over the past years as I felt myself become ever more estranged from such bodies as my own body and my being intersex got rejected again and again by the 'normals'. Or a combination of both. It's hard to say, really.

I do know that I am likely to find some answers if I can ever extricate myself from this tangled mess of medical madness and get the female side of my genitals sorted out. The recent request I sent to another surgeon has gone unanswered so far, which isn't very hopeful. With that surgery completed, however, I could start healing and resume my journey of self-discovery. Maybe I'll be able to figure out what part of 'me' is truly genetics and what part isn't.

At any rate, you're all a bunch of lovely freaks to me :)


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Too Late For This Body Of Mine

Last Friday I was at the office as usual, working on debugging a mysterious crash in the project I'm currently assigned to. It was during this that I noticed that I began to stretch out my right leg, because it felt more comfortable, I guess. After a while I began to feel this sharp, constant pain in my right hip, which I managed to ignore just enough to keep working. When getting up at one point I noticed that my right leg was dragging a bit, indicating that mild paralysis had set in.

This entire week I have had severe lower abdominal pain, combined with pain and a general sensation of discomfort in the vaginal region. It's pretty much like that every month for the past years, though it is getting more severe every time. The general pattern seems to follow the usual female pattern of mittelschmerz [1] which is ovulation-related pain, followed by dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) [2]. The discomfort I feel in the vaginal region would be due to some kind of fluid discharge, which of course is trapped there without an opening. The disconcerting thing about the severity of the dysmenorrhea is how severe and persistent it is becoming. This brings the unpleasant possibility of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) [3] to the foreground.

With few clues available as to what my internal anatomy in my lower abdominal region looks like it's hard to say what might be going on. There's the strong suggestion of a monthly cycle, which would require the presence of ovarian tissue - likely partially formed - and some kind of of tissue that would respond to the hormonal cycle, i.e. like the tissue lining the inside of the uterus. As PID brings with it the severe risk of scarring and other unpleasantness (responsible for infertility when left untreated in normally fertile women), it seems pertinent that my symptoms be further examined. Only thing I know at this point is that taking the anti-conception pill reduces the severity of the symptoms significantly, pointing towards a hormone-based cause.

Unfortunately that is pretty much what I have attempted for the past ten years. Even here in Germany I have found that there are no physicians or gynaecologists with any knowledge of an intersex condition like mine, let alone who knows how to examine it. Also considering the trouble women I have talked to before have getting help related to menstrual and related pain with their perfectly boring female anatomies, I deem it quite unlikely that I'll ever get answers.

Thus my options are limited to waiting and hoping for the best outcome, namely that I'll just have to deal with this crippling pain every month for a week or more. If the symptoms continue to become more severe and complications begin to develop (with sepsis as absolute worst-case option), I can only pray to the uncaring heavens that the pain won't become severe enough that I'll be bed-ridden for roughly half the time each month. Or - heavens forbid - end up actually dying.

While it may seem fun to have a unique body there's nothing which frightens me more right now than the whole 'not knowing' part as pains which Dutch physicians have assured me are completely imaginary tear through my abdomen every month again, driving me to tears as no painkiller is strong enough to stop them.



Back Into The Job Hunt

To quickly recap the work-related events of this and last year: I got hired as a freelancer early last year by the German company I currently work for, as a mobile (iOS/Android) developer. At the start of this year I got offered a fixed contract. After a short while I got asked to 'temporarily' work on a Java project as the iOS project I was working on was a bit overstaffed at that point. That's when things got funny, as suddenly instead of getting more mobile projects, all mobile projects we had been eyeing got handed to other parties and only Java projects remained.

In short, despite having no Java experience beyond the Android-related programming, I have been trying to struggle along in one Java servlet-based project after another. To say that this didn't go well is putting it mildly and led to some sad faces during the last feedback meetings with my employers. After the last meeting it was clear that things weren't going to work out, but I got put on a relatively new C/C++ project which was kinda drifting around at the time. I got to work for about three weeks on this new project before the final meeting, earlier this week.

The difference between working on something you have roughly fifteen years experience with (C/C++ and related) and something you have virtually no experience and very little interest in (Java projects) is like night and day. In just three weeks time I managed to completely retool and improve the Makefile-based build system of the new project and get a cross-compiling setup on Linux and Windows hosts working to Linux and QNX targets across two CPU architectures, despite some fierce resistance from the antiquated toolchain and external libraries which hadn't been designed with a QNX on ARM target in mind. I had and still have a lot of joy in working on such projects, to be honest.

During the meeting this week with my employers this became apparent as well, where sadly the conclusion was that they'd love to keep me on as developer as my performance on the current project had been very satisfactory so far, but that they just don't have more of such projects for me. As a result I'll get a new contract which ties me to my currently assigned project until it's done/its budget runs out, which will be early next year regardless. This will give me the time I need to find a new job hopefully here in Karlsruhe as well which is more befitting to a senior C/C++ developer like yours truly. While it's sad that we have to part ways like this, I'm at least glad it was possible to arrange things in such an amicable way.

Hopefully I'll be able to find a new job by March next year so that I can transition to it without any gaps in my employment and thus income. In case anyone is interested, I still have my Curriculum Vitae (resume, for some :) ) up on my personal site here:

The coming time I'll be updating this CV as it doesn't even list my employment in the Netherlands or my current employment here in Germany. I reckon I can also add 'German' to my list of 'spoken languages' by now.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more draft chapters to finish of this Android game development book I'm still writing for Packt Publishing. Call it my other full-time job (which isn't paying yet ;) ).


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Why Feminism Has To Die

Feminism originates in the 19th century. Initially it was about giving women legal 'person' status so that they too could be considered equals in contracts, in politics, marriage, parenting and property rights. This also included the right to vote. Later this movement expanded to include reproductive and economic rights and to this day keeps expanding its coverage, with disagreement among its members on what exactly defines 'feminism', with some arguing that certain extreme types of feminism is actually harmful to both men and women.

In this whole history there's one issue which is rarely touched upon, and that is the highly exclusive nature of feminism. This became painfully clear in the second half of the 20th century already when the struggle to have a non-heterosexual preference recognized as 'normal' started. Instead of feminism evolving to become more inclusive, instead new movements formed to represent the rights of homosexual and bisexual individuals. The same happened for transgenders and other minorities, with their presence in feminism at best considered to be tolerated.

The exclusive nature of feminism is painfully obvious to someone like myself, an intersex person who physically and emotionally identifies and is identified as female. There is virtually no overlap between what is important to intersex individuals and that of feminists, at least where I live in Europe. Income inequality is quite rare here and at least here in Germany the strong maternity laws ensure that women aren't being punished for wanting to start a family.

Now, I and many others like me suffer from many types of medical and psychological abuse, neglect and outright maltreatment, all for the simple crime of having been born with a body which society feels uncomfortable with. Feminism doesn't represent us, ergo intersex organizations had to be established over the past decades, which are struggling to get any recognition, while feminism largely ignores this.

It's bizarre to watch discussions by self-professed feminists, proclaiming the inequality and oppression women suffer in Western countries and you find yourself wishing that you only had to 'suffer' through that, instead of the physical and mental torture which comes standard with being born intersex. Women don't get forced surgery as an infant to 'fix' them (aside from FGM in some places). Women aren't forced to undergo brainwashing to make them think they're something they're not (though some claim the 'patriarchy' does this...). Women don't have organs ripped out of them as an infant and then have their medical file hidden from them when they get older.

Heck, I'd love to be a regular woman, even if I had to suffer sexual harassment, catcalls, lower wage and the like as a result compared to my male colleagues. Those are issues one can easily fix by banding together, as the feminist movement has done in the last two centuries already. The 'not heterosexual' movement is also making rapid progress (even if especially lesbians report feeling quite unsafe in countries like the Netherlands), with seemingly half of the world's CEOs and celebrities having a non-heterosexual preference. Not that anyone really should care, though.

That's the thing in all of this and the point I want to make. Feminism is about equality for women (relative to men), but suffers from the binary sex/gender problem. Fortunately long before feminism existed there was another concept already in the form of humanism, with egalitarianism as an economical form of it. Egalitarianism is the concept of 'equal opportunity', ensuring that in life everyone starts off and grows up with the same opportunities as others to grow and develop. Humanism is the rejecting of any supernatural forces, the focus on the value of human beings and the preference of critical thinking and evidence (rationalism/empiricism) and thus the exclusion of doctrine, which is what underlies so many types of inequality and injustice in society.

This all is why I cannot identify as a feminist, and why I would very much prefer to see the feminist movement vanish. I consider it to be a movement which has run its course and which is no longer relevant in a society where we no longer have just men and women. In a world with so much human diversity, in terms of skin colour, body types, types of sex development, gender identification, sexual preferences and so on, it seems almost inhumane to ignore all of this while only focusing on a narrowly defined sub-section.

I am a humanist. To me diversity is normal and something to be embraced. I believe in allowing humans to be who they want to be and to give them the opportunity to do so. I believe in stopping any kind of discrimination, including inverse discrimination (e.g. forced quotas for coloured/female/etc. members). I want to see humanity embrace science and critical thinking, to further their understanding of themselves and others.

Sadly I also have to recognize that we humanists still have a long way to go with rampant inequality especially among those groups which mainstream feminism has ignored all these decades. Still, maybe one day all humans will be humanists and we can leave all those fragmented faction movements behind us.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Survival In The Absence Of Safety

Those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me suffering another mental breakdown last Friday. For the past weeks it's been a recurring thing that I'd be returning home after a day at work only to break down in tears. While work is a bit more stressful than I'd have liked due to the usual dealings around contract renewal, it's only a small part of the immense emotional load which has been steadily building up over the past months. The main issue is that of safety.

Tracing back my memories a year, two years, a decade... even two decades ago I do not recall feel 'safe', if we define 'safe' as feeling care-free and without any significant worries. Primary school saw me being bullied a lot in addition to being forced to redo one of the early years because I was deemed 'too playful'. This led to my contact with my few friends at the time slipping. At home I never felt really safe because of my older brother who'd not shy away from physical force if I refused to give into demands. In effect I grew up alone, with only cursory contact with my fellow human beings, including my own siblings and parents.

Books were safe, I guess. Withdrawing from reality I could forget about the worsening situation as my giftedness curse made itself very apparent during high school when I'd bounce between schools and options, losing track of myself and my true capabilities. I began to suffer intense migraines due to the stress, also from the intense bullying I had to deal with. Until last year I had nightmares involving school. At home I had to deal with my father who didn't understand why I was being so 'difficult' and why I couldn't just be good at school if I was as smart as I claimed to be. My mother protected me, but could only do so much.

My room was the last safe place I had. Then my parents divorced and I had to move together with my mom, leaving behind all that I knew. The rest is well-known to anyone who follows me for a while now; unable to find anything to ground myself in reality all I had were my programming and science projects. After moving again I tried school again for a bit, but felt no connection and got scolded by the teachers for 'doing too much' and 'being unmotivated'. I felt I had to find a place for my giftedness, but just couldn't. Ultimately I quit school altogether.

That's when the whole 'intersex' thing came into play, making me realize that everything I thought I knew about my own body was an utter and complete lie. That my very existence and life had been built around a deception. I wasn't this person I had been told I was. Heck, even the mirror had been lying to me all that time as I began to realize as I allowed more and more of reality to slip into my tiny little world. Shortly after that I became the victim of rape by someone I trusted, forever shattering any fantasies I may have had about sexuality being wonderful and respecting another person's body.

To make matters even worse then, my body became the battleground for different teams of physicians, each coming to an entirely different conclusion. Some insisting that I was clearly mentally ill as my body was obviously that of a male while I couldn't see this, while others clearly saw that I have a hermaphroditic body. This war left both my body and mind a wreck and forced me to flee the country where I was born and raised as I could no longer feel safe there.

Yet even having escaped the country it still haunts me. My body is still a battleground. My body and mind are still a wreck until it can be resolved through medical intervention which is actively being denied to me. The Netherlands is actively denying that I suffered any traumatic disorders due to its treatment of my case and is relentlessly pursuing me in a criminal case which resulted from me suffering a mental breakdown and black-out due to a DID-episode (Dissociative Identity Disorder: the splitting of one's memory/personality due to extreme trauma) which was the direct result of this treatment. Not to mention having physicians in the Netherlands refuse to treat me due to being intersex.

My apartment isn't safe either. Every moment another letter can fall into the mailbox which horribly upsets me. There are ticking, stomping and other noises all the time which make my mind switch from 'alert' into 'agitated' mode to then trigger another emotional breakdown. Wearing headphones and listening to loud music is how I survive during the day. Wearing earplugs at night is how I manage to get at least a few hours of restless sleep. The stomping about of the upstairs neighbours is audible whatever I try and always interpreted as a threat by my mind. There's no peace or quiet anywhere. There's no place where I can sit down, relax and just let my mind wander for a while without any sounds disturbing me.

Oh, and stalkers. Got those too.

I survive at this point only by blotting out reality as well as I can. All sounds and signs of it whenever I can. Yet I cannot stop my own thoughts from agonizingly pouring over all details of everything that hurts me. While my mind stuffing the worst traumatic memories into their own little sections (DID) so that I can still function somewhat in daily life, this is somewhat akin to storing all kinds of heavy, pointy and blunt objects in cardboard boxes suspended above your head with thin strings. All it takes is one trigger.

Friday's breakdown - which continues today - is me just running out of the mental energy required to keep fighting. Sure, I can still perform the programming tasks I'm required to perform at work, but don't ask me to socialize or deal with anything else other than those which merely require me to use my intellectual side. I cannot deal with what the accursed country of the Netherlands keeps throwing my direction. I cannot deal with trying to find a solution for this horrific body I was cursed with. I doubt that there's a place for gifted people in society and cannot deal with people any more trying to find someone who actually understands my conundrum there.

You could say that last Friday was when I died emotionally. There's nothing to live for any more, because I'm already dead.

Not that any of you people are real, of course. Nobody actually read any of this I wrote on this blog. I imagined all interactions over the past decade except for the medical and psychological torturing. Because otherwise I'd not still be suffering. There is no safety in this world. Things will just get worse from here. Any of you voices inside my head claiming otherwise have to explain the past decades to me.

Better to end this suffering soon.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

In Between: A Love Story

I finished revising the story I started writing yesterday, titled 'In Between: A Love Story' and it can be read via my Scribd account at this link:

It's somewhat related to my other series I published on Scribd before called 'In Between And Neither' and I won't deny the obvious similarity in the titles. It's about different characters, however, and in a completely different setting. The central topic is still being 'in between', which is another way to say 'intersex'.

In this post I would just like to put some of the motivations behind writing it down on paper, so to speak. It'll be all spoilers from here onwards, naturally. The central themes in the story are love and sexuality, with the struggle to deal with these topics while being intersex woven into it. This is an area which, as many who regularly read my blog and/or follow me on Twitter know, is something I struggle with a lot in my personal life. This provided a fertile ground in which to let a story take root, but I didn't really know what form it should take.

The spark came when I was reading a short Japanese manga featuring a somewhat similar scene, also involving an intersex girl like the main character in my own story. While that story was quite short and rough, it nevertheless gave me the inspiration to take its basic concept and come up with a scenario which would cover the topics I thought were relevant. The creative process before I started with writing was relatively brief and quite intense as usual as my subconsciousness gleefully reached me more and more things to add to complete the story.

As a result it's barely recognizable as the original story which inspired me, but more a collection of my own memories and experiences, as well as dreams, fantasies and wishful thoughts wrapped around the simple framework commonly referred to as 'overused', namely that of finding true love. Naturally it's just that at its core, but the characters I created I think are both filled to the brim with aspects of myself, making them quite realistic. While I took some liberal shortcuts in the (anonymous) main character's situation to not burden her overly with the complexities I deal with in my own life as a hermaphrodite, I nevertheless think I managed to give a reasonable explanation for why she feels so bitter and resentful to the people around her.

It's this mixture of bitterness and hopeful optimism which I know so well from my own life and which made its way into the story without me even having to consciously think about it. The main character is basically just this side of me. Resentful, wishful, sad but filled with optimism. Downcast yet always looking ahead. It's the me I both hate and love.

The Cathy character is essentially a part of me as well. She symbolizes understanding, fully devoted love and loyalty. Also safety and strength. She's also me, but maybe more the 'me' I am trying to or wish to be. When I think of the few times that I have felt at ease while together with someone I think I can glimpse the character of Cathy in myself a bit too.

There is one scene in the story which was basically in the original comic as well, but which I have added heavily to with my own experiences. The original story was a lot more casual about things getting resolved despite the dramatic and painful reveal. In my experiences that's not how it goes. The running off, feeling crushed and ready to just expire on the spot is more close to how things would go. Then the part I hate the most: the person who just hurt me coming to look up on me. You just want them to vanish. It's been too many times that it was me like that: lying there in the dark, wanting to run away or cease existing, but knowing that I'm trapped and the problem won't go away. It was somewhat painful to write that part of the story, but it adds the depth which in my opinion was needed for the part afterwards.

Then the big question: is it an erotic story? If so, it would be the first time I have written one. In my opinion it barely qualifies as 'erotic'. Sure, it has some parts in it which are fairly descriptive, but my focus was on the emotional and mental part, not the physical. In my judgement it's got only the necessary parts in it to make its point, namely to show the struggles an intersex person like me would go through while finding true love.

Is it a mere fantasy, then? One could definitely look at it like that, though in the understanding that it reflects the true feelings someone like me would struggle with whenever the topic of sexuality and relationships is raised. It's in some ways a pleasant dream about a happy ending, about a fantasized reality in which one would find the perfect person who'd in one fell swoop bring the waves of understanding and compassion which were so sorely lacking before. To put it bluntly: yes, I wish I was the story's main character.

Having had a taste of what the pleasures and joys of a relationship can be like I'd definitely put this story under 'wishful dreaming', maybe as part of a Harlequin-series aimed at intersex individuals to make them feel less lonely in this dark and cruel world.

And then there's always the question of how relevant such a thing truly is. Being infatuated with another person is nice and all, but what does it truly amount to in the end? Unless it really improves the quality of one's life, it would be better to just forget about it. Call it the sceptic's view.

Having seen the many sides of love, sexuality, sex and relationships over the past years while collecting more emotional scars in the process than could possibly be health, I am unquestionably sceptical and veering into sheer bitterness at other times, easy to denounce, ridicule and reject such matters, while cradling the traumatized part of my psyche protectively.

Even so, a tiny flame of hope inside my mind is still lit, lighting the way as I wait for my own Cathy to appear.

I'm only human, after all.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Living Life Through The Haze Of Trauma

Despite a number of studies on the subject, the understanding of the long-term, permanent changes psychological trauma can inflict on a person is even today still a very immature topic. The appreciation for the daily ordeal those afflicted with post-traumatic conditions like PTSD and DID have to go through is therefore also very limited. To the average person it seems unimaginable that you can't just put 'something bad' just behind you, like a bad memory. Even many psychologists and psychiatrists today reject the possibility that someone would suffer PTSD without having spent some time on a battlefield.

"You don't have PTSD. You haven't fought as a soldier." That's (paraphrased) what a psychiatrist of Dimence in the Netherlands told me a few years ago. This despite even the official manual for psychological and related disorders (the DSM) having acknowledged a long time ago already that any type of traumatic event has the possibility of culminating in PTSD. Whether a traumatic event actually turns into a long-term affliction, which is to say a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depends on a number of factors.

One factor is the type and severity of the event. Generally it is something which takes one so far outside of one's comfort zone that it shatters the ability to feel safe afterwards. A battlefield is a good place for this, but things like long-term abuse, severe physical violence and the like can occur anywhere and any time. For me what caused my PTSD and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) was about a decade's worth of questioning the true nature of my body, discovering my intersex condition and becoming caught between the wildly differing conclusions of the Dutch and German medical communities. Five years worth of having Dutch psychologists and physicians trying to convince me that I am supposedly transgender, just a boy, crazy, biologically male, going to the extend of apparently falsifying medical evidence and reports.

Based upon how regular people respond to me and see me, I can only conclude that I do not have the body of a male and I am in fact intersex, though without any further medical help it's a chapter of torturous uncertainty I won't ever be able to close. This basically means that while I have PTSD, the underlying trauma which caused it is still there. I'm still trapped on the very battlefield which originally trapped me. I have to live in fear every day that it'll be my last. I have to find joy in the few moments of relative safety before I am forced into no-one's land again, praying to uncaring gods that I won't be shredded to bloody bits.

Even if nobody is actively threatening me with physical violence and to any random outsider it seems like I am doing well, especially after leaving the Netherlands and with it seemingly the bad memories behind. Trauma is never left behind. Nor are pressing, frustrating questions about one's own body. Unless I could leave this body behind I am tortured every day with the fact that I am still failing at life because I don't even know what I am. This induces a constant state of panic and restlessness in me.

I already have a hyper-acute sense of hearing and smell which wasn't such a big deal as a child, but after suffering these traumas it's even more of an issue. While I have my own apartment where I should feel safe, I feel constantly threatened and unsafe. There's nothing concrete I can point to, of course. It's just with noises that make me feel first agonized, then terrified, then frightened out of my skull. The ticking heating system is a major source and the reason why I do not use the living room any more as the sound is just too strong there.

Hearing the upstairs neighbours walking. Low-frequency *thump* *thump* sounds on a regular basis. It annoys me on some level, but it also terrifies me. I cannot bear to hear it for very long, but have to drown it out with some other noise or music. While lying in bed small noises. Something ticking here, something going *plonk* elsewhere. It brings me to full alert with my heart thumping in my chest, unable to sleep again for another half hour at least. Without earplugs I'd be a proper insomnia patient.

And even then there are the memories and dreams. Half-remembered dreams and nightmares related to things I'd really like to forget about. Regular flashbacks during the day. Sights and sounds bringing back horrible memories. Interpreting things said or written by others in a completely wrong manner because of some memory sneaking in and morphing it into something completely different without me noticing. Same with social situations, or on the work floor. Moments when you have to fight off paranoia about your co-workers or random people on the street or in stores. Your own mind is projecting your fears and memories onto your environment until it feels like every moment you're alive is just reliving the past over and over.

Then there's seeing bodies. Human bodies, especially those of attractive women. They make me feel bad, reminding me of my failure to get answers and live my life. Then there's sex appeal and just plain sex. Seeing images of women in sexually suggestive poses, even on calendars at work, is painful and horrible. Being reminded that there's such a thing as 'sex' fills me with agony and disgust. Virtually every memory I have of it is negative. I wish nothing more than for sexuality to vanish completely. Yet knowing that it's always there and that I'm not immune to it either due to it being programmed into my very genes is an agonizing reality I'm not sure I can accept.

I know what has to be done to resolve this negative cycle: have a surgeon do a proper examination, perform whatever surgery is possible with the female reproductive organs and associated tissues as I was born with so that I only have certainty and resolved questions and wishes there. This would hopefully also finally allow me to put behind the trauma I suffered in the Netherlands due to the constant denial of my very body's existence. Unfortunately I have not succeeded in finding such a surgeon. The one I had an appointment with for surgery in July this year went silent and hasn't bothered to respond to any of my communications. I keep trying new options helpful individuals offer me, but I very much doubt that there will be an end to this torturous existence.

The fear that I might be wrong about what this body of mine is after all leads me to constantly hold off on actually putting behind all these questions about what in the world this body is. I still don't know what I am seeing in the mirror. I'm just feeling confused at what I see of this body. It makes being alive a torturous thing and leads to the unfortunate urges to harm and destroy this body as I cannot help but see it as the reason for why I have to feel terrified every second.

I wish to be happy and carefree. I want to feel safe, but I can't. I try to shield myself from the cruel reality of my tortured existence by surrounding myself with happy things with no negative connotations, but reality has a way of sneaking through any defences. I don't ever want to feel the cold metal claws of trauma grip onto my brain again, to feel despair and pain wash away any possibility of reason or coherent thought until I am nothing more than a sobbing, pitiful wreck lying on the floor.

I must find a way off this battlefield, but I fear there is no end to it. No escape. No salvation. Just this unending nightmare which doesn't care whether I'm awake or asleep. I fear it won't end until I finally die. And that's probably the most terrifying thought of all.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

One Question About Giftedness I'll Never Be Able To Answer

The past week has really brought back to me rather unpleasant memories of trying to deal with being gifted, most of them school-related. Of failing at one level of education and going down a level to try it there, only to find out that it made things only much, much worse. Of grasping the basics of string and M (membranes) theory, not to mention a profound interest in the principles behind faster than light travel by space-time folding (using a space-time 'bubble'), while nearly flunking the basic Newtonian physics classes and performing poorly at best with highschool-level mathematics.

Much of my life seems to consist out of others as well as myself asking me why I can't just do those simple things if I apparently understand much more complex things so well. That's really the core question: Why do I have such an incredible hard time doing anything simple if I'm so smart?

Only answer I have found so far is, while truthful, a rather simplistic 'because it's boring'. I described this in the previous post as well to some extent. I always feel this pull to focus on cool, shiny, highly complex projects. Something involving high-level mathematics and complex engineering processes, doing something I preferably haven't done before yet to create something awesome and amazing which approaches sheer magic. Things like human-level AI, a new, superior processor architecture or artificial organs matching or exceeding the capabilities of their organic counterparts. You know, things which are quite possible if you just spend some time and effort on it.

For me to function on a daily basis involves a lot of pulling myself away from the tasks I enjoy to do the boring, menial tasks. Like eating. Or getting the mail. Or sleeping. That's not to say that they have to be tasks I dreamed up myself to be interesting, though. If someone points me to a project or task where I feel I can challenge myself in some way that's just fine too. Even assembling some Ikea furniture works well at times. Those can be vicious projects, as many can attest to.

It's still hard to explain this properly, though. Heck, I cannot even properly grasp it myself what I'm really trying to say here. Why can't I do simple things? Why do I get distracted so easily if not challenged? What exactly draws me in a task? What is challenging and interesting to me? What motivates and demotivates me?

Supposedly I'm really smart. While I don't like IQ numbers, the results of the test I took at a Dutch institute many years ago combined with some additional research would place me somewhere pretty high, with a wide distribution of things I'm really good at, only limited by my 'crippled' auditory skills as a result of being a purely visual learner. I'm a complete autodidact, have photographic memory and tend to be very independent. Yet this appears to be all just a handicap when it comes to daily life.

In the case of giftedness it's, as many have said before me, a matter of living in a different plane of existence. It's like you can see more than others, see connections and possibilities they can't. You can see this big, beautiful world, nay, universe of options around you, but you feel crushed every time you realize that it's just you seeing it. Every time you have to work in 'their' plane of existence you feel downcast, out of place and quickly demotivated. You just want to go back to your own plane, your own place of being.

Even as I write the above I feel like it'd just seem like gobbly-gook nonsense to many reading it. It's more of a way to visualize and describe what I feel and what I have heard others like me describe before. The feeling of not really belonging in society, of having no interest in 'common' tasks, of always seeking the next intellectual challenge, of never picking something 'easy'.

In some ways it's good, but also terrible for me to realize all of this so clearly again. As if me having been born with a super-unusual body wasn't enough to make me feel not quite part of human society - especially after the treatment I got because of it - my giftedness has always been that 'thing' which I have. Even as a young child I was always the quick learner, the technical-minded one, the one who got always jokingly referred to as 'the professor'. I also always had to hear how high people's expectations were of me. I have no idea how highly people thought or still think of me, but I always feel like I haven't lived up to any of their expectations, never mind any of my own.

I didn't pick to be born intersex. I didn't pick to be born gifted. I didn't pick this society which deals very poorly with either. It's my burden and curse which I'll somehow have to learn to live with. Explaining it to others so that they can maybe understand me better would be a good first step.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

On Intelligence And Feeling Not Quite Human

Often 'feeling human' appears to be synonymous with 'being like everyone else'. In a way this makes sense since a society is supposed to be composed out of more or less like-minded individuals, with the more deviation from what's considered 'normal', the less cohesion you'd find. Society is order. This also implies that relatively small issues can tear a society apart, even if it's on issues such as food, drink and entertainment.

Inversely this means that for an individual to be considered part of a society they have to 'fit in', i.e. they need to have sufficient overlap in all areas considered relevant by a society. This is the source of a great deal of strife for many individuals. Sadly also for myself. Even ignoring the chaos surrounding my intersex condition there are plenty of reasons why I'd have trouble fitting in.

There are small details, such as me not smoking cigarettes, not drinking alcohol or coffee, not eating meat and fish, these because the way I experience things like taste and smell in a very different way from what is considered 'normal'. I found out that I'm at least in the relatively small group of so-called 'super-tasters', which are people for whom the experience of especially 'bitter' and related taste is far more pronounced, making ethanol, coffee and such to be decidedly unpleasant to taste. The social impact of this is relatively minor, but can make situations slightly awkward when everyone around you is drinking alcohol and you settle for some soda or fruit juice.

There are also other physical differences, such as me being ambidextrous, meaning that my brain doesn't make any difference between my right and left hand in terms of capabilities. Being able to use a mouse, pen, (power) tools, etc. equally well with either hand is a proper asset in my view. It's also fun to freak out north-paws (right-handed people) by configuring your desktop setup in a south-paw setup. It's a great party trick and socially more of an asset, really.

If it was just that I'd be doing okay, I guess. Unfortunately, even long before my intersex condition became such a hugely negative thing in my life, something else I was born with was overshadowing my life already. It's the kind of thing which nobody who doesn't have it truly understands and which is decidedly both a blessing and a terrible curse. This is largely because in a society where everything is more or less based around average or slightly-below average intelligence, being highly intelligent (gifted) puts you right outside of what people can deal with. Worse, it leaves you in a situation where neither you nor your environment knows what to do about it.

The positive part about me being gifted has been an uncanny ability to absorb knowledge and skills, also thanks to the photographic memory I was blessed with. I can scan through a text on any subject and give a perfect summary. I'm also in a quite rare group of gifted people, too, as I'm a visual-spatial learner as it's called. This means that I do not think in 'words', like most people but in visual impressions. To me anything spoken and anything audible is just another 'image'. When I listen to a song I see the song: its structure and colouring. I can also link parts of its structure to other songs based on what it looks like to me.

Not being able to deal well with spoken language puts me at a distinct disadvantage, sadly. If I don't focus on a conversation so that I can convert it to a visual representation, it's gone. This makes one on one discussions quite tiring and something like a two-hour meeting at work into near-torture. It also means that I have a distinct preference for communicating with others in a non-auditory manner, such as via written messages on internet forums, IRC and the like. While I'm very much an extroverted personality, many mistake me for an introverted person for this reason.

There's also a thing like knowing and seeing too much. To a gifted person usually the world doesn't look black or white, but has so many greys and colours that it's often hard to exactly see all the different nuances. This also makes it hard to communicate with non-gifted people, as they tend to function in this 'black and white' world, with or without a few shades of grey mixed in. Sometimes it feels like you're trying to talk with a blind person about the wonderful colours and shapes one can see on this planet and in the universe. An uninterested blind person at that, who is more than content to stay that way.

It all leads to motivation or the lack thereof. School is very hard, especially for visual-learners like me, as without sufficient stimulation we tend to drift off with our thoughts and focus towards more interesting topics and projects, thus flunking the subject and getting punished for being 'bad' at something, while all that's the problem is merely a lack of motivation. I was supposedly doing 'poor' at mathematics during highschool, while I was merely bored and doing quantum mechanics instead, reading up on my M membranes, string theories and different approaches to the Theory of Everything (solving the contradictions in special relativity, gravity and other theories). I saw logarithmic equations and classical (Newtonian) physics merely as tools you read up on in a book when you needed them, not as a required skill to learn then and there.

Teachers of course don't understand this. Despite it being clear that I wasn't dumb due to the hundreds of books I had read at that point, not to mention winning the story contest the first year with a 'very mature' contribution according to the jury, they were frustrated with my seemingly inability to learn certain things. All of it led to things being dumbed down, resulting in me losing every more motivation until at the end I was mostly just reading print-outs from scientific articles, working on a concept for artificial, magnetically actuated muscles and reading books during classes while still acing most tests after scanning the textbook once. I didn't do homework either, yet the final year I easily made it through the final exams with relatively good scores. Imagine if I had actually been motivated.

Where I am today, when I ignore the intersex mess again, I still don't feel that I really belong in society due to my intersex condition. The more I go to the fringes of society, where I meet up with the other nerds and similar social outcasts, the more I come across like-minded people and the more I feel at home. Sadly that's not really where one can make a living in society. At work I notice that few of my colleagues can understand the way I think or work. They can just decide to do a task and embark on it right away. I first have to analyze it, then come up with an approach which is most optimal and implement the whole thing in less time than they took while preventing any bugs and other potential issues. Along the way I'll also come up with at least half a dozen related ideas to optimize other parts of the process and/or project.

To then have to work together with others who don't think like me nor understand or appreciate how this brain of mine works is then borderline impossible. It's frustrating for both sides and not very productive as most of the time we'll just be feeling lost about what the other is thinking. Communication suffers and ultimately the others give up on me while I become completely demotivated and try to find something to challenge me instead. Meanwhile I'll be feeling useless, incapable of doing anything useful, let alone capable of functioning in a team. So much for motivation.

It makes me feel like I'm some kind of alien in a human society at times. I don't think and function like a human. I don't even see, taste or smell things the way they do. My mind is constantly filled with the most wondrous ideas, concepts and prototypes for amazing technologies for robotics, AI and such, which I have to keep tearing myself away from to focus on some mundane task which I'm quite sure I could have automated or otherwise improved on if given a week to work out the details. No chance, of course, so I have to keep suppressing these thoughts.

All of it makes me wish I could just go home, to whatever planet I actually came from. I don't want to be 'human' if it means giving up being who and what I am. Not to mention what I wish to become, just so that I can 'fit in'.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Other Life: Giving A Conference Talk On Software Development

In one life I'm Maya Posch: victim of severe discrimination and maltreatment due to having been born with an intersex condition. In that life I suffer from PTSD and continued harassment by worldwide medical systems.

In another life I'm Maya Posch: professional software engineer and highly knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. In this life I'm highly sought after for my expertise and get asked for interviews, conference talks and praised for my useful technical blog posts.

It's that second 'me' who got asked to give a talk yesterday at the Google Developer Group Karlsruhe's DevFest 2014 [1]. Despite having heaps of media experiences and not shying away from doing a live interview on highly personal topics in front of millions of people, the thought of actually having to stand there in front of a much smaller group of people and pretend to be smart was in some ways more daunting.

The most important part was of course to get a proper presentation together after picking the general topic. After some brainstorming I figured that 'mobile game optimization strategies on Android' would be a nice topic. Then I'd be spending about three days slaving over the dozens of slides for the presentation. I knew I had about half an hour to fill, with another fifteen minutes for questions. I put something together which I figured would roughly fit in that timespan and off I went.

While my talk was in the afternoon, at 2 PM, I was there from the start, following a double talk on the Google Guava (Java) library which turned out to be super-detailed about a small sub-set of this library, i.e. kinda dull. After the decidedly tasty (vegetarian) lunch I followed another talk about wearable devices development which was quite interesting and talked some with the presenter for the talk after the wearables one.

I had the distinct honour of having the only talk at the conference in English. Despite this still about twenty people showed up (I didn't count, though. It could have been between 10 and 50 :) ), which was not too bad. Embarking on my presentation, I quickly found myself slipping into the usual rhythm I am so used to from doing TV recordings. In some ways it's not so dissimilar: in both cases you have to perform clearly and loudly in front of a sceptical audience.

A bit of minor shock occurred when one of the organizers sitting in the back of the room held up the '10 minutes' sign, indicating that I had to wrap up my presentation. Rushing through the last couple of slides I finished properly in time, without really skipping any of my prepared material, though I could easily have padded the presentation out to an hour or more. In total I got one question during the presentation, on whether one should just omit external dependencies completely and write everything oneself. This I answered by saying that one simply has to evaluate libraries to see what their dependencies, size and any other potential issues are.

There was another break after this talk, during which I had another bite and drink. I had received a bottle of wine after my talk as reward for my troubles. I'm sure I'll be saving it for a special occasion, like when I trip over someone who does drink red wine :)

I knew that the audience had filled in feedback forms after my performance and that I wasn't looking forward to knowing the results. I felt I had rushed through things and probably skipped about half of the jokes and gibs I had thought of beforehand. Then, as I was sitting there reading up on things on my mobile phone, a group of guys walk past me when one of them turns towards me and says to me (in English) how much he had enjoyed my presentation. After I thanked him they walked on, leaving me feeling noticeably happier.

I frequented two more talks after that break, one on Google Enterprise products and another one on Geolocation Information Services (GIS), something I had recent experience with thanks to a mapping project for a client at my job. It was still interesting to see some other applications in action, though.

Staying for another hour or so after the talks ended, I actually found one person I knew and met the other speaker I talked to before again as well. The three of us stayed there talking for a bit with a quiz and such going on in the background. I did this talking in German. Pretty much beyond my talk itself every other communication at the conference I managed to pull off in German without anyone so much as blinking at my pronunciation or horrendous grammar. Maybe I am getting better.

In the end it was a pretty okay day, even if it left me feeling completely exhausted by the time I got home. I do hope that this life of mine gets a lot more time in the spotlight compared to the other one. It was good to be the 'other' me for a day.



How Furniture Reflects One's Life Choices

Picking a place to live in was easy enough for me this year, as I was homeless and anything was better than having to mooch off other people's generosity. While my current apartment is not somewhere I could bear to live for very long - mostly because of the poor maintenance state and hearing everything of the upstairs neighbours - the times when it's quiet in the building and I'm sitting back for a moment I can appreciate living here as I entertain the thought that it would be a nice place to live for a long time if it wasn't for the noise. In the end it's just a shell, however, and changing shells isn't so hard.

Furniture is much harder and in many reflects one's current state in life. Each room makes clear a lot about what one's focus is in life and what's still lacking. After finally furnishing my apartment which took a mere eight or so months of agonizing over many details and saving up the money to afford it all, I think that a clear image has formed of where I'm at in life.

Starting with the most well-furnished room where clearly a lot is happening: clearly the office. With multiple desks, a great chair, lots of storage space and more electronics equipment than you could shake a stick at (and with more coming), it's clear that I practically live there. My life is work, essentially.

Moving on to the living room: mostly memories of what it used to be like to live in a proper home and flashbacks to good things from my youth. I fondly remember the solid wooden table and chairs we had so I had to get something similar, even if I'm unlikely to really use the table. Similarly with the couch, coffee table, comfy carpet on the floor and bookshelves. It's clear that it's a room nobody lives in. There are things in the bookshelves, but it's more of a storage room than a living one. Maybe some day it will be used.

The kitchen is just functional. Not too expensive and relatively spartan. No fancy decorations or such. It's just there to enable food storage and preparation.

Hallways are to walk through. Something to put one's jacket up on is nice, though.

Also quite telling is the bedroom. Maybe more so than the office, as there's the choice between picking a bed large enough for a single or for two people. In the end I did go with the latter choice, even though I have expectations that I'll ever share my life with another person. Having more space is nice. Seeing the empty pillow and unused table next to the other side of the bed is lonely, though. Maybe it was the wrong choice in that regard. Further the bedroom tries to go for a peaceful feeling, as I tried to establish something of that calm oasis feeling. Not that I can sleep without earplugs in, though.

So my purchasing spree which has enabled me to finally furnish my place has also given me a few uncomfortable insights in my current life and has made me think about my future. It's apparently a rather empty life, of large, empty tables. Of going to sleep and waking up in a bed that's always half-empty. Of not living in the living room, but spending almost every waking moment in the office.

It's lonely in a way. Just sleeping, eating, working, sleeping, eating, working... day in day out. Whether it's because I simply have no time for anything else right now or that I have already lost the possibility of ever changing my life in any meaningful way. Maybe it is better like this, though. The past decade I seem to already have lost pretty much everything that would enable me to trust people enough to consider friendship, let alone enter into a relationship. I would completely get rid of emotions if it were possible. Computers and technology are the safe heaven I have. Everything else is just blackness and pain. Happiness and joy are either cruel lies or merely reserved for normal people.

If you need me, I'll be over here in the office, working on something, while only dust settles on the unused furniture in the living room.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

My Dutch Legacy: Lawsuits, PTSD, Stalkers And Confusion

It's often easy for me to forget how much better my life in Germany is than it used to be in the Netherlands. Much of this may be attributed to me suppressing most of the negative memories of the latter. This week it became quite apparent to me just how much I have suppressed there when I got a call from one of my Dutch lawyers, regarding my appeal in a case started last year. At the realization that this case still hasn't been closed many associated memories came flooding back. Most of them exceedingly negative.

Being intersex in the Netherlands has to have been one of the worst nightmares I ever had the displeasure of experiencing. There's no medical help, politicians couldn't care less about you, there's no awareness in the population and generally you get the feeling that you'd be better off crawling away into some dark corner and quietly dying. As things went for me, I decided to not give into the dismissive, often scornful attitude by Dutch physicians and psychologists, bearing accusations of just being transgender, crazy, delusional and what not. When I got confirmation of my intersex condition by German physicians in 2007 this boosted my intention to get to the truth.

Looking back I probably should have given up on the Dutch healthcare system far, far sooner. Beyond one single Dutch physician (a urologist) at the MST hospital in Enschede, I didn't find a single Dutch physician who acknowledged my intersex condition. While I haven't found surgical help yet in Germany (or elsewhere), the diagnoses by independent German physicians at about five different hospitals are all consistent with each other, acknowledging my intersex condition and the presence of female genitalia while missing parts of male genitalia. This seems like a solid foundation to build a life on, rather than the scattered, wildly differing 'diagnoses' by Dutch physicians.

Maybe I could have avoided suffering the mental traumas I went through in the Netherlands if I had done things differently. Maybe then I wouldn't be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which are the DSM-IV traumatic disorders I have been diagnosed with so far. It's hard to say what would have made a difference, yet I did get my official name and gender change through the Dutch legal system, which did make my life a lot easier. I'm not sure how I'd have felt if my passport at this point still referred to me by my old (male) name and as of the male persuasion. I had to explain my official ID not matching with my appearance so many times over the last years already before those changes went through.

That said, it's still hard to accept how easily my official name and gender change went through the Dutch legal system. In both cases my lawyer was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, having expected a hearing or further evidence. With my first name change apparently all it took was including a photo of myself in the request to support the claim that I wanted to change my first name to a female one due to my feminine appearance. With the gender change the surgical findings of a vagina being present by the German surgeon - who also performed the required orchidectomy (castration) - the Dutch court in Alkmaar found no issues with my request based on a 1980s Dutch law aimed at intersex individuals by whom the gender assignment got botched.

I said 'hard to accept', because of how difficult the other cases went when I wanted to address the inhumane way the gender team of the VUmc hospital in Amsterdam and my insurance company Unive had treated me up till that point. For the former I went with my lawyer Yme Drost through a case at the medical disciplinary commission in Amsterdam, but my complaint was rejected. They had treated my case properly, despite the years of physical and psychological abuse and the ignoring of my obvious intersex condition, or so the commission decided. Similarly for the case against Unive at the human rights commission in Utrecht. Despite ignoring my request for full coverage under the same laws as transgenders (similar situation), the commission ignored this and Unive finally denied my request saying that the facial hair growth I wanted coverage for was 'too light to be noticeable', while looking at photos taken over four years after starting treatment.

Finally the current appeal I'm dealing with. In the original ruling I was absolved of most of the responsibility for what happened [1], but I would still get a criminal record and would have to pay thousands of Euros to the owner of some small statues who where present in the room where the incident happened, all of them uninsured. I appealed this ruling on the grounds that a) it was an alternate, DID personality fragment which did it, b) my DID is the result of years of psychological and physical torture and c) the GP's office where the incident happened triggered the incident themselves by refusing to make good on promises they themselves had made. I can only see myself as a victim in this case. There's nothing I could realistically have done to prevent the incident.

I also suffered a lot of punishment due to that incident already. The arrest by the police being quite brutal, with my mother observing that despite me cooperating, they were using a lot of force against me. I got beaten, had my head repeatedly rammed into a car door, got sat upon, forcefully stripped, denied of any comfort and forced to spend an entire night and most of the next day in a holding cell, unable to sleep and falling apart mentally. I still have neuropathy in my right hand due to the handcuffs being put on far too tight and regular pain in my right knee from the bruised bone I suffered there from the beating, probably when they threw me onto the ground. Memories of this regularly haunt me. It's why I'll not pay a cent to anyone as an admission of guilt. I have to pay over a thousand Euro to my lawyer for this appeal, but at least that's aimed at justice, instead of giving into the travesty of justice that is apparently the rule in the Netherlands.

Quite a nice list so far, I'd say. Traumatic disorders, lawsuits which further put me away as a liar and common criminal and general hostility among the healthcare 'professionals'. Another thing I sadly have as a Dutch legacy are stalkers. I'd say I have about five or six of them, with some given up or merely on a break. It's hard to say exactly. Some of them prefer to harass me directly, trying to break my spirit by pointing me at the 'fact' that I don't know what I am exactly, insisting that I'm merely a boy pretending to be a woman and really, really confused. Others stalk me excessively, one even going so far as to con me into renting an apartment together, then grooming me to behave like a couple while psychologically and physically torturing me.

When I escaped from that situation this stalker then saw fit to steal every single belonging of mine I had left behind as I fled the place in early 2013. Returning a few months later with a moving van to confront this woman and to claim back my belongings the apartment was empty aside from her own few meagre belongings. My mom was present there as mental support, but she got attacked and hit a few times by this mad woman. My mother decided to not file an abuse claim with the police - who were also present - as she didn't see the point of it. I had lost everything I owned and with Dutch law as it is, it could not get marked as 'theft' because it wasn't done by a stranger. Go figure that one.

Anyway, this particular stalker got my computer plus medical files and everything else I had. She broke into my email accounts and that of my mother, using the information and (confidential) email addresses to send emails to journalists, my current boss and others with supposedly incriminating evidence based upon the stolen files. She pretends that I'm a scammer, forcing others into accepting my (delusional) attitude of being intersex. To what goal I'm not sure. They are rambling, incoherent, poorly formatted works of many pages. However, if anything this harassment merely makes people more sympathetic towards me. Nobody believes a word of such a stalker's claims, instead worriedly informing me about it, recognizing the potential danger of having such a stalker. Maybe I should be thankful to these stalkers in a way?

How to deal with a stalker? Good question. It really depends on the type. Some of my stalkers are the insidious, remote type who just enjoy watching you squirm and get miserable. Those are easily ignored. Those who really want to destroy your life by targeting those around you are trickier, but as I have demonstrated so far, being open and honest means that people will never believe a poorly written, rambling mail over your story. I can truthfully say that I have never lied at any point about what I know to be the truth about my body and intersex condition. I was raised in the belief that honesty lasts the longest and gets you the furthest. I will always adhere to that.

I have had to assure some journalists and others already that I'm not too worried about this latter type of stalker. Their attempts to discredit me are obviously ineffective, yet they persist, which suggests a certain kind of insanity. Some expressed worry that I might get physically attacked by one of them, even murdered. It's not impossible, but unlikely as it'd fully expose them for the lunatics they are, something they are afraid of. They prefer to hide behind anonymity, even though they aren't even nearly as anonymous as they may think. With both stalking and slander a (criminal) offence, they're just one mistake away from seeing their life ruined. If they have a life at all.

It's a lot to deal with, that's for sure. One might conclude that most people in the Netherlands must be mad, raving lunatics at this point. I'm sure that's not true, for most of them at least :)

Yes, there is still confusion regarding my intersex condition, but the 'I could be just a male' option got crossed out many years ago already. To address it again would be just daft. As for me strong-arming physicians and psychologists into diagnosing me with an intersex condition as also gets suggested at times, I wish I could do that. Then I wouldn't be dealing with severe psychological traumas, or be suffering through a lengthy lawsuit because fools trigger my DID even after being warned about it. It'd also means that German physicians are 100% susceptible while Dutch physicians are immune. Go figure that one.

I'd love to get closure on what the exact condition is of my female side and have surgery to accomplish what is possible. This regardless of the exact outcome. If only because it'd give me insight in what it is exactly I go through every month, with abdominal pains and extreme sensitivity/soreness in the vaginal and groin region. To live another 70+ years or so without having any clue about what is going on seems like utter madness to me.

At any rate, despite having suffered for a decade at the hands of the Dutch healthcare and political systems, I'm at least grateful that my sacrifice hasn't been in vain, with me having raised the level of awareness of intersex in the Netherlands and worldwide in a considerable fashion while exposing the many issues with the current Dutch treatment of intersex cases. As a humanist I know I have to be aware of what's good for humanity as a whole. I believe that my actions have made a significant, positive contribution to this, which makes it all slightly easier to bear.

Here's to leaving unpleasant legacies behind as quickly as possible.