Sunday, 5 March 2017

On happiness and not being like everyone else

Life could probably have been so much easier for me if I had been more... like everybody else. If I hadn't been born with an intersex body. If I hadn't been gifted. If I was actually able to filter out sounds, motion and smells like everyone else seems capable of. If I didn't feel so much empathy for others and even inanimate objects.

The giftedness and inability to filter out sensory input are probably linked, with a genetic cause, as my mother is much the same. I just seem to have it even worse. My mother would always tell us to stop swinging our legs and making other constant noises because it'd make her feel 'sick'. As a child I did not understand this. Now I do.

For the past months I have made the interesting observation that when someone at the office has a persistent cough for months on end, it does not seem to bother my colleagues. Me? It drives me insane. First cough gets my attention. Second, it's getting annoying. Third, it's getting to me. Fourth, I must do something.

It's the same with the ticking from the central heating at this rundown apartment where I now live. Each ticking noise goes straight into my brain, no matter how much I try to ignore it, until ultimately I must drown it out with music on my headphones. I must absolutely sleep with earplugs in every night, because otherwise the noise from the heating, other pipes, people in the hallway and neighbours walking around and using the toilet would prevent me from sleeping or wake me up.

Motion. Sound. Smells. All of it are things which I need to have control over. I must be able to regulate it, or something just overloads inside my brain. Since the cause appears to be genetic, there is little I can do about it, other than to find a quiet place where I can live and sleep. This is why I will have to find a house to buy in the countryside, away from people. Anything else is just a terrible compromise which will only add to my stress.

I grew up on a farm, in a small village in the Netherlands. Aside from an incident with the roosters of two neighbours having a contest each morning for a few weeks it was always quiet. Over the past months I have come to realise more and more that this is what I need. What I must get back. Anything else will just slowly drive me mad.

I am not like others. Yet I can become happy as well. It does however require others to also accept these differences, that what works for almost everybody else does not and will not ever work for me.

In the genetic lottery I seem to have lucked out, receiving all the genetic combinations and developmental upgrades which would make me a hermaphrodite, grant me giftedness, ambidextrous skills and a hyper-active nervous system. I also got an upgraded version of my mother's intolerance to meat and fish, this hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation and the bonus of a serious dislike of coffee.

Having had a chance a few days ago to feel again what must have been memories and impressions from me as a child, reflecting on this has made it so incredibly clear what the way forward is for me to become happy, as well as what the only acceptable choice is for a home.

How I will accomplish all of this I do not know. I will need to contact a real-estate agent to search for this home for me. I hope that the new intersex specialist can finally give me the resolution to my medical conundrum. Beyond this it's all more a general feeling, a craving for peace, quiet and no longer having to ignore stress, pain and discomfort to fit in with general society.

I hope by all that's holy that I'll make it.

Please let me be happy again.


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