Friday, 28 February 2014

Speculating On Missing Links In One's Past

In countless interviews and the like I have mentioned that moment when I was about five years old and suddenly changed from an energetic, expressive and extroverted child into a quiet one, preferring to withdraw into its own little world rather than deal with the outside one. I have so far ascribed this change to the struggle to define myself as all other children around me of my age split up into 'the boys' and 'the girls', leaving me floating somewhere in between. Recently while writing my autobiography and being forced to recall as much as possible from those years and those after it, I have begun to question this version of the story.

While there is undoubtedly at least a grain of truth in it as those changes could not have beneficial to my emotional development, the main reason why I have begun to question this recounting is due to the severity of the change simply not matching up with the events of the time in so far as they are known at this point. What happened was severe enough to not only make me withdraw into myself, but also to refuse physical contact including from my own mother while virtually completely halting my emotional development. It also created this mental blockage which would make me freeze up in abject terror at the thought of initiating anything involving other people. All of this would have to be due to this sense of discomfort at those changes around me. The more I think about it, the less it makes sense.

About seven or eight years ago my mother once carefully asked me a very sensitive question after an acquaintance of hers had mentioned this possibility. My mother's question was whether I remember ever having been sexually abused by my father or anyone else. At the time I was taken aback by this question, almost immediately denying that anything like that had ever happened. I couldn't remember anything like that happening, ergo it hadn't happened. It seemed so obvious.

If something like sexual abuse or the like had happened to me when I was about five years old, I very much doubt that I would have been able to remember anything of it. Together with my sudden change in behaviour at the time it does seem to match the typical symptoms for young children who become the victim of physical or sexual abuse. While I very much doubt that I will ever learn the truth of whether anything like that happened to me back then, it does give me pause for thought. In many ways it makes so much sense, including with the issues I was dealing with during my youth and still today.

In some ways it's better to know that something horrible has happened to you rather than to live with the strong suggestion that something like it may have happened.  Not always, of course. Sexual abuse has been a common topic when I grew up, with this neighbour's girl with whom I often used to play having been sexually abused by her father and a cousin of mine having been sexually abused by her uncle and grandfather for many years as a child with the rest of the family covering for them. You don't think too much about it as a child, of course. It's not until you become older that the full horror of it all begins to sink in.

At this point I'm unsure what to do with this line of thought on what may or may not have happened to me as a young child. I have to focus on the present and the future, yet I'm painfully aware of the impact one's past has on these.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Decade To Get Surgery

This year it's a decade ago that I began my medical quest for the truth. A decade which for the most part has revolved around the central topic of my female genitals and reproductive organs, with for me the fundamental question of what I would or wouldn't want to keep of the male and female side. I knew soon that I wanted to have the female side as usable as possible using the existing organs and tissue. Thus getting this one surgery which would restore my female side became the core of my quest.

Connected to this wish to have this reconstructive surgery are a lot of uncertainties and fears. I have talked about this many times before already, but it seems so hard to explain why this surgery will help me so much. People seem to take the whole 'believe what you are' thing as something that is actually realistic. To me it's absolutely pertinent that I get this surgery as to me it's the only way I can ever truly learn who and what I am.

This also takes a lot of explaining. The carefree attitude with which people tell me things like 'just be a girl' or 'forget about the past' or 'just be yourself'. None of that even remotely works for me, in fact it merely helps to frustrate me. What I see when I look at my body is some freakish thing which appears to be feminine if it wasn't for the male genitals present on it. I have extreme difficulty on many occasions to see my face as something which belongs to a female individual. It's not something I have control over. That's the subconscious part of my brain, trained by decades of brainwashing, showing me things.

When I try to match my way of thinking to something either male or female it's tricky too. While people around me seem to consider both my physical appearance and my way of thinking to be primarily feminine, I can not just shake off years of indoctrination. Thirty years during which I was either told that I was a boy/man or torn between two completely opposite medical conclusions. I notice this especially when I'm in the company of women and it almost feels like two completely opposing versions of me - one male, one female - fighting for control. This again leads me back to this reconstructive surgery.

What I will gain from this surgery is the ultimate, final proof to every single part of my brain which is still rebelling against the notion that I could conceivably be female, or that I am actually a hermaphrodite. It will take away the lingering doubt that the German physicians were right about how my body is put together and allow me to finally put to rest the constant fear I live with that the Dutch physicians were right after all. It should allow me to stop hating sexuality and relationships so much as much of this hatred I feel is the result of the hatred I feel against my own body, itself due to not receiving medical help for so many years.

Most of all it would finally allow me to stop fighting so much. As I'm writing my autobiography at this point, just having finished the period up till 2005, I can see more clearly than ever before that my struggle to find my body and myself started when I was about five years old already. I have never truly known the certainty and comfort most people feel about their own body and the sense of being secure in one's own self.

For this autobiography it would be nice too if I could finish the last chapter in it with this last surgery and the end to all these decades of searching for myself, but I would gladly trade just about anything to finish this journey. It's been far too long.

In many other ways it would be most helpful too to have had this surgery. Two weeks ago I ran out my supply of the regular anti-conception pill, with as result that I'm experiencing a much more severe period than I would otherwise have, with a completely sore lower abdomen, painful hips and even loss of sensation and control in my right leg at times due to nerves apparently getting pinched. Since my female genitals are all hidden away underneath skin it is very hard to tell what is going on inside my abdomen and whether having it closed-off is harmful to me. After the surgery it would be very easy to examine it.

I fortunately have found someone who wants to make the phone call to the clinic to hopefully get some of the questions answered which I asked over two weeks ago in an email to my surgeon to which I still haven't received a response. So far it seems to be mostly a communication problem, which is where my poor German skills and the tendency for such a phone call about a for me so delicate and highly emotional issue to wreck me emotionally for days. Hopefully this week I'll learn more.

I hope that this surgeon is truly the one I need. I did hear via others that he has done a similar surgery on a case much like mine, which gives me hope. If the answers to my questions are satisfactory, then I will first need to go to the clinic for an examination. It's about a four hour trip from Karlsruhe, I think, so I hope that I can have someone more experienced handle the logistics there. Same for when/if the surgery gets planned.

I remember all too well my emotional state when I was on my way to Hamburg in 2011 for the surgery and I felt so horribly conflicted while sitting there in the ICE train that every second of that journey felt like torture. Just writing about this issue like above is very hard for me, making it abundantly clear to me that my emotions and nerves are completely raw and bleeding when it comes to dealing with it. After a decade of working towards this moment and false finish last year with that Dutch surgeon I really can't take much more of this. This has to be it.

I'm so tired...


Sunday, 23 February 2014

All That's Left Are Fragments

I don't really know who is typing this. It seems that recently I am no longer myself, whoever that was. Or is. I'm struggling with the word 'I' here, for there is no singular 'me' or 'I' as far as I can determine. These past weeks it's become ever more clear that something major is changing inside the psyche which makes up this individual which these distinct egos seem to inhabit. One of these egos is the intellectual one, which is probably the one who is typing this after having analyzed the situation and reasoned that writing a blog post about it is pertinent and useful. As an analytical tool it probably is.

There are so many different egos fighting for dominance inside this individual's mind at this point, it is most confusing. Whether this is due to the walls between the personality fragments which formed the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) - also known as multiple personality disorder - weakening or disintegrating is hard to say. At any rate the sense of 'self' and a singular goal in life is almost impossible to determine at this point.

Of course there is the intellectual personality (ego) as pivotal point in all of this, always there to keep track of things. The more fleeting and unpredictable egos are those which could be said to be those of a happy, innocent child, of a regular, beautiful woman, of a heavily traumatized person desperately clawing at the walls of its prison, of the uncertain, frightened person which I recognize from my childhood, of the hateful, angry person who wants to crush everything, and so on and on. Each of them make regular appearances, in a way which I recognize as akin to dealing with the DID personality fragments, only that until last year they would be compartmentalized, with each easy to control and keep track of. This separation seems to be gone now.

Instead every moment feels more like looking at a collection of mirror shards, each of them oriented and shaped slightly different giving the impression that one is not looking at a singular person, but many different ones at the same time. It's a constant chatter of impressions which one could call 'voices' in some way. They're the thoughts, wishes, demands, fears, rage, terror and so on of all of these egos, blending together into this impossible to separate mess, akin to being at a very busy party. Before it would be just one ego forcing itself upon me, projecting all of its thoughts and feelings upon me. Now it's all of them at once.

I'm not sure how 'I' will cope with this or how or whether it will change any time soon. So far it's only getting stronger and harder to control. It's gotten to the point where all I can do is force myself to focus on intellectual activities while ignoring everything outside this room I'm sitting in. I can not deal with the outside world any more. Every single trigger for any of my traumas has increased in strength at least ten-fold. Isolating myself from human society in every way but intellectual ones seems like my only refuge at this point.

I wish I would get help. I could get rid of many of these egos just by having the medical confusion and terror stop. At this point I'm forced to conceit that it is most unlikely that it will work out with finding a surgeon for this final surgery. The one I found before isn't responding to emails for weeks now and making a phone call to the clinic isn't possible for me unless I am willing to accept an emotional breakdown as possible consequence based on previous experiences. Without help it seems that I can only isolate myself further and hope I won't end up succumbing.

While some of these egos want to die so badly, I - the intellectual, rational ego - isn't quite ready for anything as drastic as that. I am however most limited in my available options. Ensuring that I perform the tasks which are required of me and ensuring that this body is fed and kept in a properly maintained state is all that I can do at this stage. Interference from other egos at some stage with these activities can however not be excluded. It has happened before that take-over by other egos has resulted in physical injury, no intake of food and drinks for days or longer and other such self-destructive behaviour.

I beg of any who may be reading this to please help me. Help this body. Help me contain and deal with this personality fragments. I do not know for how much longer this can go on. The numb sensation indicating a separation from mind and body significantly increased today, indicating severe dissociation leading towards self-neglect and self-destruction. I can not solve this by myself.


Thursday, 20 February 2014

CVZ's Response To Intersex Discrimination Case

The discrimination case I have running at the Dutch Human Rights Institute (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) since last year against my former health insurance company Unive is an odd one. Before I had it taken over by the institute it seemed fairly simple, in that the position of Unive was that full coverage for permanent hair removal by intersex people was not possible at all, whereas for transsexual people it was totally covered. The excuse from Unive being that they are two medically completely different situations.

In the first case I started against Unive, at the SKGZ, the opinion of the central organization for healthcare insurance companies, CVZ, was asked for the first time. Reading back their original conclusion from 7 September 2012 it can be summarized as follows: they never suggest or state explicitly that they distinguish between transsexual and intersex individuals in the coverage of permanent (facial) hair removal. They state that the medical evidence provided is insufficient at that point to say that I'm a hermaphrodite or intersex. They agree that there is no sign of transsexuality. Note that at this point I have had my official gender changed already (March 2012) due to medical evidence of me being a hermaphrodite, considered to be sufficient by the judge, who even went so far as to more liberally interpret the law in question due to my female side not being visible externally.

With the response from the Dutch Minster of Health (see earlier blog post) essentially indicating that they never considered intersex individuals in any way, form or shape. Thus saying that the law which enables full coverage for certain therapies in the case of for example transsexuals can not be guaranteed to also apply to intersex individuals. They simply never spent a single thought on the matter.

The pattern we thus see here is one where things start off benign; with a clueless collection of civil servants and ministers putting a law together without considering the full scope due to having bad medical advisors from the looks of it. The resulting neutrally phrased law is then passed on to CVZ which isn't making any definite statements when you read into their words, thus not limiting or setting the scope. Finally the health insurance company who has to implement sees this lack of scope as an opportunity to limit it for as much as they can and meanwhile end up blaming CVZ for 'making them do it'. During the hearing at the Human Rights Institute in Utrecht last year it was literally the Unive representative repeating himself, saying every time that they were just following the interpretation from CVZ.

Recently I received the response from CVZ to the questions asked by the Insitute after another long delay much like that for the Minister of Health. In it they basically state that intersex and hermaphroditism do most definitely contain cases which are comparable to those in transsexuality whereby full coverage of hair removal therapy is provided, as pointed out in their 2008 statement as listed on the website. They repeat that the only reason why they didn't indicate me for full coverage in 2012 was because they could not assign the diagnosis 'hermaphrodite' to me. This again despite the recognition of me as such by the Dutch legal system.

The conclusions one can draw from this whole is that a) Unive lied when they said that they were just following CVZ's interpretation and b) that the refusal by medical and insuring Netherlands to recognize me as being intersex seems to be once again at the center at this issue. Or to put it differently, of fundamental discrimination against intersex individuals within the insurance and medical world in the Netherlands. I have legitimate proof of me being intersex and a hermaphrodite, which according to CVZ would have been enough to qualify me for full coverage. I did have said evidence back in March 2012 already. There was no reason to deny my request.

Instead Unive lied and CVZ ignored a recent court ruling while the Dutch Health Minister looks like a foolish knave, wholly unaware of the real world with its real people.

With this last response it is now up the Human Rights Institute to decide on the next step. Whether there will be another hearing, another evidence gathering round or something else I do not know. I will just patiently await their judgement as I hope that some justice can still be served in the Netherlands.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Terrors Of Having A Body; Learning To Feel At Home

Every week things seem to be moving just a little bit further ahead with the whole getting settled in Germany thing which is still my main project at this point. I have an apartment in Karlsruhe, even though it is in a poorly maintained state and still needs a lot of attention to be fully usable. Two days ago I finally got the full use of the bathroom with the sink in it usable for the first time. Major maintenance on the electricity grid and floors is still pending before I can use all light points, switches and rooms. I also almost got a kitchen, but Ikea no longer sells the series I wanted (Udden) and never told me on the site or kitchen planner. All quite annoying.

In other areas there is progress too, with me having a German tax ID and almost-but-not-quite-yet health insurance. Despite me currently sitting at home with a bad cold, I can say that despite all of the issues with this place (even the ticking noises from the radiators) and despite the lack of furniture, a kitchen and food storage options, it's slowly beginning to feel like a home. That is to say that I can feel that the general feeling of being threatened is decreasing when I'm sitting here at my new desk, for example. With some more effort and luck this may actually turn into a proper home for at least a while.

I wrote about this before, though, but there isn't just one type of home. There is the building type, the location where it's built and the memories you have of the place. The other type of home is one's own body. This is also the most important home of all, for the simple reason that if you don't feel at home in your own body, you won't feel at home anywhere. This is the part where I'm still struggling so much at this point and not making a whole lot of progress.

During the past decades I have learned to smile and say that I'm fine whenever people ask me how I am, regardless of how I truly feel. It's a lie which seeps into your own programming, to the point where you almost begin to believe that it's true. As an earlier post already made abundantly clear, I'm most definitely not fine at this point. No one could be fine after living a confusing false identity for a long time, followed by state-sponsored torture for a decade which involved breaking down the very essence of what defines me as a person.

I don't know who or what I am. I know what others think they see and know about me and kind of go along with that, but I have no certainty there. I know that if given a choice I'd retreat into some dark room with an infinite supply of computer and other parts, a fast internet connection and no one to ever bother me. Not much different from how I lived my life since I was about 6 years old basically, only then it started off with a large supply of books. Yet I'm not sure that's really who I am either. It feels more like escaping into intellectualism, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but doing so does mean neglecting one's body and social contacts. That too doesn't seem right.

While I'm not entirely sure what it means to feel at home in one's own body I do know that the first step is to learn all the important facts about said body. After that you can learn to accept those facts and only then can you begin to feel at home in this body, having accepted any issues for what they are. Here I think is where the problem lies for me. For me this fact search started as for everyone when I was only a child, only I didn't get many results due to having been deceived about the fundamentals. I wasn't a male, I wasn't fertile as one, I couldn't live or think as one. And yet I was taught that exactly these things were true and right.

I left physical puberty due to this without any true facts about my body, only a collection of lies and falsehoods. What I thought I knew about my own body was all wrong and false. Then, as I began to discover this startling fact now a decade ago my renewed fact finding mission got blocked by so-called professionals, informing me bluntly that everything I had been told before about me being a regular, biological male, was all true. This resulted in another diagnosis getting forced upon me, that of me being transgender, of suffering from some kind of gender dysphoria. This while I wasn't concerned with gender or physical sex at all.

True, I wanted to live in a female role, but this based on the fact that I already looked far more like a woman than a man and felt comfortable living like the former. Thus my own fact finding mission began to unearth facts which clashed dramatically with the 'facts' offered by said Dutch professionals. When my own theories got supported by facts from German physicians things just got more confusing. Who was right, what was going on and why was this all happening to me?

My body became a battleground. It's about as inhospitable as one can make a body. It's impossible to look at a body like that afterwards and not just see the countless battle scars with ragged, torn-up soil, blood, corpses and the scavengers picking their way through the remains. It's all I can see even today when I think of or look at my body. This image or sensation has become intertwined with all that is related to a body, due to the gender-focus in particular things like sexuality and relationships. I can not see, hear or read about any of these and related things without it bringing back the war I am still fighting in a way. This is why to me sexuality and relationships are terrible, horrible things. Examples of misery, pain, death and decay. Just like war.

I know that this all isn't right. It's not healthy and will make my life impossible in the long run. To fix it I need to properly end this war. Because even today I haven't won yet. Despite getting my official gender and first name changed. Despite everything I have accomplished so far. I'm still standing in the midst of this battleground, seeing the battle rage around me, with sometimes faceless, sometimes beautiful men and women dying in gruesome ways right next to me, their warm blood flowing over the already saturated ground. If I want to end this madness, this incomparable insanity, I need to finish my fact finding mission.

Despite everything I still don't believe that I'm intersex, or a hermaphrodite, or an adult for that matter. Part of me doesn't believe this at least. Not while the ultimate proof and conclusion of the medical chapter is still waiting. The one thing which I knew would have to happen even when I had just started my mission: the Final Surgery. The event which would give me the body I was already born with but which I was never able to use due to complications. There would be no more pertinent or urgent questions after this. No more searching for doctors, surgeons or just anyone who would take me seriously.

I'm still trying to get a clarification from my current German surgeon on which type of surgery he is thinking of doing exactly, but it appears that he isn't really one for email so I'm trying to find a way around that. I'm also having others search for other surgeons in case this surgeon doesn't work out after all.

I so do hope that it all works out now and I can finally finish my fact finding mission. Only two decades too late, for I have no idea whether it will suffice to truly give me back my body and with it the feeling of it being my home. Still, it's the best and only shot I have at this.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Dutch Health Minister's Response To Intersex Discrimination Case

Last year I filed a discrimination case with the Dutch Human Rights Institute (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) against insurance company Unive for refusing to fully cover hair removal therapy for intersex individuals where they do fully cover this procedure for transsexuals. During the hearing at the Human Rights Institute in Utrecht on November the 25th the representative from Unive was asked to justify its decision. Unive's response was that they were just following the ruling by the central organization for health insurance companies in the Netherlands, CVZ. According to CVZ the situation for transsexual and intersex individuals when it comes to such a therapy is vastly different.

This therapy involves the removal of facial hair in a permanent fashion for individuals who wish to transition to a female role, but have had sufficiently high testosterone levels that they began to develop facial hair at some point. After lowering testosterone levels this hair growth does not stop by itself, ergo this therapy is required. Why the situation for transsexuals (who 'choose' to transition) and for intersex individuals (who are born like this) when they move towards a female role would be different is something which was asked by the Human Rights Institute after the hearing to CVZ and the Dutch Minister of Health. After a long delay of many weeks because bureaucracy is a busy process, I recently received the answer from the Minister of Health, Edith Schippers, or more specifically the director of health insurances, drs. G.G.J. Ikkink.

The Minister of Health got asked a total of three questions, the first one being: 'Do you share the opinion of the CVZ? Please further motivate your answer to this question.'

The response says that they support this opinion of CVZ, because it fits with the regulations concerning the health insurance law.

The second question: 'Could you provide further information or explanations regarding the relation between the CVZ and the Minister of Health, in particular whether the Minister of Health can provide mandatory instructions on the question of how this health insurance law can be interpreted?'

The response basically details how the Minister of Health determines the extent and scope of health coverage. CVZ hereby has the duty to explain and interpret this law, whereby the Minister of Health can not force CVZ to change its interpretation because the healthcare law does not include such a provision.

The third question: 'During the development of the healthcare law, did the coverage options for a person with an intersex condition, such as in the relevant situation, get determined or considered? If so, can you detail this?'

The response denies that any such consideration was made for intersex individuals. They claim that because intersex individuals are not named specifically in the relevant law, this therefore does not apply to such people. It is made clear that at no point in the decision process intersex individuals were ever considered.


What is striking about this response is most of all that if you put the actual law article next to it ('Besluit zorgverzekering', article 2.4, first member, part b) [1] it never actually mentions transsexuality except for the fifth item in relation to sex-reassignment surgery. The first and second item are decidedly neutral in their formulation:
1°. afwijkingen in het uiterlijk die gepaard gaan met aantoonbare lichamelijke functiestoornissen;
(aberrations in one's appearance which are due to measurable physical functional disorders)

2°. verminkingen die het gevolg zijn van een ziekte, ongeval of geneeskundige verrichting;
(mutilations which are the result of disease, accident or medical actions)

Transsexuality falls under item 2, due to the need to remove facial hair in the case of a male to female transition which is the result of medical actions (hormones, surgery). The hair removal therapy is thus part of the whole medical procedure of the transition.

An intersex case whereby one wishes to portray a female role while suffering from excess facial hair would fall under both items 1 and 2, as often medical actions are involved, though it's also due to physical characteristics which one was born with which could be classified as a disorder.

For the Dutch Minister of Health to thus defend the decision by CVZ to reject coverage for intersex individuals and to pretend that that it only covers transsexuals despite the law itself being completely neutral in its construction is simply patently ridiculous. It further suggests a more widespread and fundamental discrimination against intersex individuals, something which I have encountered among the Dutch medical community between 2005 and 2013 in a very significant manner as well.

At this point I'm very curious as to what the response from CVZ to a similar set of questions as those listed above will be. If they are indeed the final authority on interpreting and explaining healthcare laws then they should be able to provide us with a reasonable, well-reasoned explanation for why they found that the above law article's members can only be explained as applying to transsexual individuals.

CVZ had until February the 3rd to send in their answer. As soon as I receive my copy of their letter I will update my blog with the details.



Saturday, 8 February 2014

Succcess Is Irrelevant

The past weeks have seen a number of improvements, many of which I have written about before, whether longingly or not. I'm officially registered as living in Germany, got a German bank account and tax ID. I have health insurance via the Krankenkasse. I also managed to get a decent apartment (though it needs some fixing, including half the radiators...) in Karlsruhe itself which I moved into earlier this week. And yet it all doesn't matter.

That's not an entirely true statement, of course, as I do like my creature comforts. Not having proper heating or a kitchen right now in my apartment is making me a lot unhappier than I should be, made worse by people dismissing this with stories of many months they did without a kitchen, a fridge, etc. Yet even once all the issues with heating, electricity and missing kitchen, furniture and appliances gets fixed, I still won't be happy.

I noticed this again in a very distressing way yesterday while I was at the local hackerspace (Entropia). Even a few hours before I went there I was already feeling very alone and unhappy, with everyone leaving to their own warm homes and me not knowing where to go or what to do. That's where the hackerspace is a bit of an outcome to me, I guess, as it's both safe and warm, plus it has decent internet, unlike at my apartment where I'm still using a sluggish 3G connection for a while longer.

Anyway, I know that I'm not doing well emotionally when the one central sensation I'm feeling is one aimed at self-termination, with this bland, painful feeling driving home the point that my existence is useless, pointless and that I'll forever be alone with a massive distance between me and real humans. It's a horrible feeling, as it makes you completely unmotivated to keep living, while your usual sense of self-preservation is hitting the emergency brakes. It wasn't until I began to talk about it with a friend that I was able to explore the source of this pain a bit.

While I won't claim that I fully understand why I'm feeling so depressed and suicidal, I do know that it's not due to a single or even less than a handful of factors. It's a complex amalgamation of factors, most deriving from my youth, high-school period and the horrifically traumatic experiences with the Dutch medical system. I can name a number of these factors and they're all horrible on their own, yet I can feel that it's just a little piece of the puzzle. The central feeling is one of despair, frustration, agony, exemplified by the chapters of my autobiography which I have finished or am still working on.

Through writing this autobiography and finally really recalling my youth and high school period many illusions I had are being shattered. There was no happy, carefree youth. There was just me being excluded, bullied and beaten for being 'different' and knowing lots of things. It's good to finally confront this truth at long last, even if it hurts like hell. I wish I had a way to figure out and deal with all the other things which are currently bothering me, though.

My traumas regarding the past decade of mental and physical torture by Dutch physicians and psychologists are really becoming apparent now that I'm no longer in that country. It's a textbook example of the development of traumas as documented among war veterans, in fact. At first they seem fine when they get home after serving a tour in a war zone, yet after a few weeks or months things begin to change as they slowly slip back into the hell they were supposed to have left. I went through a lot of nightmares the past weeks and many situations during daily life make me relive parts of certain traumatic events while I'm struggling to keep a feeble grip on reality.

I'm not even sure how much of this so-called reality I can accept or even deal with, though. Things like sexuality, gender and relationships have been a bad point for me, essentially starting the moment I got raped. Together with the agony I had to go through as I figured out what I truly was and had to catch up emotionally from the level of a pre-teen, it made me look just too much at reality. Human sexuality and relationships in general are so ugly and so violent, it's just horrible. Yet, as I mentioned a while ago, every human being needs love and attention. This makes the former two items easy things to long for, yet I have become convinced that I should not be looking at either of them for happiness or even comfort.

A relationship I could deal with if it found me and it worked out well, but at this point I'm not going in search of it and I'm also incredibly paranoid about such things. Yet it still hurts so much to see couples together, with an exchanged kiss as painful to me as a dagger into the chest. In the end this all comes down to feeling like a failure. Not intellectually, of course, as that's one area where I have always made sure that I'm doing fine or more than fine. There is a reason why I got asked to write a highly technical reference book for the AndEngine Android-based game engine after all, and why I am working as a software developer at Synyx.

I guess what it comes down to is that due to how I grew up combined with the horrible way in which my life was stolen from me for a decade has left me in a state where due to hiding away in some kind of intellectual hole I'm okay in that area, but which caused me to miss out on social contact. I feel like an alien in this world. When something factual, preferably scientific and/or technological is being discussed I can understand and comprehend it, but anything else is just gibberish to me. This also makes me extremely awkward in society in general, with me often feeling attacked or ridiculed.

One thing I have come to loathe lately is the forceful attitude some people here seem to have about forcing me to learn German. It's completely putting me off Germany in general. First of all I didn't migrate to Germany because of the culture or language, but to escape persecution in the Netherlands. Second of all I haven't spoken German since the second to last year of HS, by now about 13 years ago. Third, whenever I'm pressured into anything I just completely become blocked on it. I am trying to feel welcome and comfortable here in Germany, not persecuted, ridiculed and out of place.

In the end it's just not one thing in particular which is causing me to feel so terrible. They're not regular, every day things, though I have those problems too and people can help me with those to lighten my load some. The real, fundamental issues which are bothering me are things which go beyond the comprehension of the average person. Who can understand the traumas I had to experience when I figured out that my entire life had been a lie when I found out that I wasn't an awkward, ugly boy but a pretty girl? Who can understand what and how much this last surgery I desire means to me? Who can honestly grasp the entirety of the pain I have to live with simply thanks to having been born with a body which differs from what is 'regular'?

Some days I feel cursed for not only having been born a hermaphrodite, but also for being gifted. Either by itself would have made my life into a living hell already, but together it makes for something unbearable, thanks to today's archaic-minded society. Somehow I will have to figure out how to deal with this. Getting my creature comforts sorted is essential, as is getting that surgery scheduled and performed. For that I may need another surgeon, as those who have been following me are probably aware.

Anyway, I'll leave it at this for now. It's freezing in this room of my apartment so I think I'll be heading off to the hackerspace for some warmth and human company. I don't do too well just by myself lately. This all isn't just something I can leave behind me, as the conflict takes place inside your head and stays there. You can not ignore it just like you can't ignore a broken leg. Both can be mended with the proper care and time, though.