Friday, 26 January 2018

On visiting the pool as a hermaphrodite

It's sometimes frightening to note just how rapidly time can slip by sometimes. Such as yesterday when I went to a nearby swimming pool with a couple of friends, with my last recollection of visiting such a place being at least 6-7 years in the past.

What prompted me to go along to the pool with the others was an urging by my therapist to 'maybe do some sports'. I always maintained over the past years that all the cycling I do around the city is enough to keep me fit. Suffice it to say that yesterday's experience (and today's sore muscles) have proven me completely wrong on that account. Seldom have I felt more out of shape and somewhat humbled.

The positive side of yesterday's pool visit was cycling back afterwards feeling all fuzzy, warm and happy. As someone who has loved swimming already as a child, it was so good to be back in the water. Even if a large part of it is the dodging of other people in the pool as one tries to gets in one's laps, it's still a positive experience. As a bonus, the water was far less chlorinated than I'm used to from Dutch pools.

Not smelling for a day like one got caught in an accident involving a truck carrying chlorine is pretty nice, indeed.

After buying an entry ticket and figuring out how to use the entry gates, I met my next challenge: dressing cubicles. Since the whole place was under construction, still, it turned out that the number of private cubicles was rather limited. I wasn't going to enter any of the communal dressing rooms. I was there to swim, after all. Not worry about what other women might think of my extended set of accessories.

What was somewhat funny is that earlier yesterday in the local hackerspace's IRC chatroom another person expressed interest in tagging along to the pool as well, but expressed concern about wearing a bikini because she is a pre-op transgender person, and 'excess bits' would show up. I'm not sure whether I'm just special, but when I'm wearing a swimsuit or bikini you wouldn't know that I'm not a Human Female Model Mark 1. I almost mentioned this fact in the chat, but figured that it's still okay if people assume me to be just a regular female.

I guess I am glad for this fact, however. Being able to just go swimming without weird looks is nice. Probably the only reason why people might gawk at me is for apparently looking like an Attractive Human Female.

One thing which I found interesting at this pool compared to all the Dutch pools I have frequented, is that here they have a section for men and one for women which has the toilets and showers. With Dutch pools there's usually an open shower section in the entrance to the pool itself, meaning that you get a quick rinse before entering the pool and after leaving it.

At the pool I visited yesterday, this meant that as a result it was common practice to strip down fully after swimming, much as one would do when at home. Though they also have two private showers, most women I saw there seemed to have no issues with slipping out of their swimsuit or bikini. To be honest, I kind of like this. There's nothing to be ashamed of, after all.

Except for me, maybe. While I had no qualms about stripping down the top part of my swimsuit, I figured I'd not slip out of it fully. Even if I already had had the reconstructive surgery for the vagina, the presence of bonus parts would at the very least lead to uncomfortable looks and, worst case, upset people. No use in chancing it.

In some ways a pool visit is a rather intimate experience, as it requires one to expose oneself and one's body in ways which we're not generally used to in daily life, and all of that in public. Suddenly everybody can see what you have kept hidden underneath layers of clothing. Be it scars, an old tattoo, that tummy that just won't shrink, or the fact that you're not technically male or female.

For that reason I have avoided saunas like the plague, for one. Even though I am not ashamed of being a hermaphrodite (hermaphroditic intersex person), it's especially at places such as pools and saunas where one can no longer just coast along on the assumption by others that one is simply female. I'm not sure what the solution there is. If there even is one.

I guess yesterday's experience once more made me understand other hermaphrodites who choose to just have one side chopped off and removed from their body a little bit more. Though I do not feel nearly as uncomfortable with my body today as I used to only a few years ago, it is hard to shake off this feeling of loneliness that comes with being different enough to fall outside of society.

Thinking back to how I could just have gone along with all those attempts by dozens of doctors and psychologists to convince me that I was transgender. If I had pulled it off, I might now have had genital surgery, removing the male bits (and likely any female bits they found...) and be a normal human female. Kinda. Sorta. It would feel horribly fake to me. I would not be 'me'.

Yet the mental struggle to keep rejecting the seductive lure of 'just getting all the strife over with' remains. At least so long as there is not truly a place for us hermaphrodites. Being ourselves is a tough job, every day again. To be something which you know exists, but others do not, or dismiss it as little more than a myth.

This must be exactly what a unicorn would feel like, I guess.



Tom Farrier said...

1. You're both.✔️
2. One suggested edit: you use the word "apparently" where it's unnecessary. If you turn heads, fine. If they're the heads you want to turn, even better. Just drink in the admiration as it comes.👍

Maya Posch said...

@Tom - I use 'apparently', because I'm still not fully convinced of that 'fact' :P

grim4593 said...

You could always use the word "allegedly".

Frans Faase said...

Having muscle pain after swimming does not mean you are in bad shape, because for swimming you use different muscles than for biking (even in your legs).