Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Difference A Mirror Makes

Mirrors have for a long time been both a friend and foe to me. They have shown me on many occasions what this body of mine truly looks like. The first hint about my body being intersex came from this. On the other hand there are times when I cannot see clearly any more and seeing my hideous visage in a mirror at that time is torture, with the pain inside my mind twisting and distorting what the mirror shows me.

Since I moved to Germany I haven't seen a lot of mirrors, as my apartment at this point is practically devoid of them, aside from one I had in storage. After some recent moving around of items due to maintenance, this mirror unintentionally ended up standing near where I get changed. As a result when I got changed that night before heading to bed I glimpsed my undressed body in said mirror and felt shocked.

The body I saw in the mirror was that of a female. A slim, attractive female, with curving hips and narrow waist. At this sight I felt quite a dissonance as my self-image tends to drift towards the 'squat, rotund and ugly' kind of image. For all intents and purposes I might as well have a male body, as that's how it feels to me. To then see this self-image shattered like that, swift and brutally, by the image reflected to me, it felt both terrifying and joyful.

"You're just a feminine-looking boy."

"I think that you're deluding yourself [about being intersex]."

"You're biologically completely male."

"You suffer from autoparagynaecophilia."

"You're not intersex, but transgender."

Phrases like these - uttered by Dutch physicians and psychologists over the past decade - keep resounding inside my mind. They either never saw me as possessing a female body, or were lying to me. Am I truly biologically male? Am I intersex or not? Which organs do I actually have? Why am I not getting answers? Why did two Dutch judges agree to have my official gender and first name changed based upon being intersex and looking female respectively, if I'm neither? What is going on?

What people say to me about my appearance makes little difference to me. People are biased and too many have lied to me over the years. A mirror doesn't lie, however. Only one's own mind can deceive oneself at that point and I know in how far I can trust it.

People cannot be trusted, let alone physicians and psychologists. A mirror can be trusted. I'm not entirely sure what it is exactly that I see in the mirror, or what it means, but even with my limited medical and anatomical knowledge I think I can safely make the assessment that I have a female anatomy, including secondary characteristics. Considering the rest of my anatomy it can from there be reasoned that I have to be intersex.

That's as far as a mere mirror can take me, though. It cannot examine me internally or explain why my body is the way it is. It cannot tell me whether this monthly cycle is something to worry about and how to manage it. It cannot get me this final surgery to fix up my female side where it's closed off. For that I would still need the same people who have proven to be completely unreliable so far and whose hurtful phrases still torment every minute that I'm alive.

Or I could just gaze forever into a mirror, imagining the many ways my life could have been more pleasant.


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