Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Intersex: All About Maintaining Control

Of all the things which have affected me in my life, the two major ones are things I was born with. The kind of intrinsic thing which you either learn to live with or not at all. The first one to become apparent was my giftedness. This one was the type of thing to have which is both a major curse and blessing, as it both allows me to do things the average person cannot, but it also made my life exceedingly hard in other ways. School being one of those things and later on with jobs and such. Hereby it looked like for a while that during my school period that I would lose control over my life.

Thanks to support from my mother I was able to find a way to deal with my giftedness. Unable to deal with the regular education system, I was able to study on my own, studying a wide variety of subjects, mostly focused on technology and science. As an auto-didactic, visual-spatial learner the main issue I have is that of getting bored. Without a challenge of sufficiently high level, I get bored, become demotivated and lose all interest in the subject. Only by keeping myself stimulated with difficult assignments can I keep my focus. This tripped me up at school, and still does to some extent today now that I'm working a day job. Being so different from others makes life harder.

It's not just about challenges, either. It's also about this unrelenting need to improve things. When I have seen and analysed something, I then move on to figuring out ways to improve on it. That's not a very useful thing in most teams, however. Most of the time I have to hold myself back, while forcing myself to focus on and accept the limited solution being implemented. I try to keep myself motivated by doing difficult projects next to my day job for that reason, like writing my own CPU architecture in VHDL and expanding my knowledge of electronics in general. I also want to move more into AI research and robotics. Because it's fun and motivating. Enough to keep myself occupied there at least.

By having challenges like this I keep my intellectual, gifted side happy and content. Under control, or in control, depending on how you look at it. That's what it's about in the end. If I feel that I'm not just being lived, but am actually in control, everything is fine and happy and there's no stress or conflict. Take away the control and everything goes south, however. This is the problem with the second thing I was born with: my intersex condition.

It's beyond question that my intersex condition has affected me from a young age in a direct and traumatizing manner, causing emotional, developmental and social issues where - even with my giftedness - there shouldn't have been any. There never was any control over it. First because I didn't know it was there, then because I didn't know what it was. Neither did my environment. It was out of control.

Then, when medical specialists should have been helping me regain control, things just got made worse. Even after ten years of asking questions, I don't have a single clear answer about what this body is or how it's put together. With contradicting diagnoses by physicians it's clear that some of them are either lying or incompetent and in the face of this confusion I do not have any control over my intersex condition. It also doesn't seem like I will regain control over it for as long as I live, as the medical problem simply won't be resolved at this rate.

This issue is what has forced my emotional and intellectual side apart from a young age, stunting my emotional development and nurturing my intellectual side thanks to the intellectually stimulating environment I grew up in (growing up on a farm, lots of books, computers, internet access, etc.), but also because of the ever-present need to get away from the constant emotional pain I felt.

The dream I woke up from yesterday was telling in that regard. In it I was being held tight by a man, with my back pressed against his chest. I was struggling weakly, but unable to pull loose. The man whispered with his mouth next to my right ear that he would kill me, brandishing a knife. From my peripheral vision I could see the knife moving from the right towards my throat until it was resting against my skin. I just remember giving up at that point. As the knife cut into my throat's skin from left to right, it burned, then it felt weird to breathe. As blood flooded my lungs the all too familiar pain of choking to death began before I passed out.

Being murdered in one's dream can indicate a lot of things, if you believe in it. While I'm relatively sceptical in such matters, I do accept that since the brain generates the imagery, there is likely some meaning to it. In this particular case combined with how I felt at the time I think that the explanation that it symbolizes the cutting away of one's emotions, to distance oneself emotionally. It's similar to my response at various points by trying to kill this body of mine as response to the lack of control over this intersex situation, but then not aimed at the physical.

Similarly, it's why I hate dealing or reading about intersex in any form or shape: it reminds me of the fact that I have no control over this intersex aspect of myself. It's why I am so incredibly jealous of other intersex people who do have some semblance of control over their condition. Every time I am doing a media interview it feels better for me, as it's a way to regain some control. After the interview and once the publication or broadcast goes live it all fades again, however, and the dance begins anew.

Control is also why nobody else should ever decide in any fashion or form about intersex individuals, whether a newborn baby, teenager or adult. The moment anyone takes away control over our own bodies, our own fates, away from us, they may as well tear our heart from our chest. If we're dying due to some medical complications, by all means save us, but otherwise the only 'help' we require is that which we cannot provide ourselves, such as the answers to medical questions about our own bodies. Beyond that there's nothing more we require to be happy. Definitely no other interventions. In that regard we do have a lot in common with our non-heterosexual brothers and sisters: the urge to maintain control over our own bodies and minds.

We're not broken. We don't suffer from a disorder. We may have questions, but those can be answered. Please don't break us by taking away this control we so desperately need.


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