Tuesday, 5 April 2022

The transgender curse

If dreams are indeed a way for our subconsciousness to communicate with our conscious mind, then some dreams are as subtle as taking a brick to the face. Case in point last night's dreams, or perhaps closer to nightmares. In them I found myself in a number of scenarios in which I felt shamed for having (exaggerated) masculine features, such as (excessive) leg hair, or ways that served to remind the me in the dream that I was not a 'real woman'.

Upon groggily awakening from this delightful ordeal it still took me a few hours to really process its message, but in hindsight I don't think that it's that complicated. I think that at its core lies the way that I was made to look at my own body, and the messaging alongside this about 'passing' as a specific gender. A lot of what I went through in my dealings with medical and other specialists was after all about 'proving' that my body isn't that of a male. It would be one heck of a way to hypersensitise me to anything about my body that wasn't in line with this notion.

Compared to yesterday when I went to bed, I can feel the shift that occurred somewhere in my way of thinking, and also in how I perceive myself, both via my senses and when looking at myself in the mirror. It feels as if some level of desynchronisation has been resolved and I'm now (mostly) back in contact with my physical body instead of whatever distortion was in the way before.

The ironic thing is perhaps that I have said so many of these things before, but I just didn't seem to really believe in them, perhaps. Some lingering fear that I might suddenly wake up one day and all of these things would turn out to be just a dream and all clarity is gone again, perhaps?

Since I'm pretty sure that I am in fact awake right now, and nothing will change about factual reality any time soon, I feel confident in reaffirming that my body was always the way it is today. The abnormal situation that was in place for many years was that my body was perceived as that of a male, when the actual, normal situation was in fact that it always was that of a hermaphroditic intersex person, with a clear female phenotype. A hermaphroditic woman, for short.

When I regard my struggles to look at the body I inhabit today as real, I can also see and remember the many specialists who told me that I am male, that I have a male body, but that I 'want to be female'. This whole mess with the transgender protocol and the many years that I spent trapped in its bowels are clearly a type of brainwashing that was inflicted on me when I was in a very fragile state, emotionally. When you seek help and answers, and instead of finding those things, you are absorbed into this abusive, cult-like system which cares nothing about you as a person, instead only injecting its ideologies and lies into your veins like venom.

Looking back, it's hard to deny that things would likely have been a lot easier if I hadn't had this 'transgender curse' put on me. A curse that made me worry about nonsensical things like 'passing' as something which I already am by birth. A curse which took away many years of my life, and denied me medical help and answers because I refused to comply with The Protocol and submit to it.

The abnormal situation in which I started my life was that neither my environment nor myself were aware of my intersex condition, not helped by my body struggling to kickstart the whole 'puberty' thing which massively delayed the development onset of the secondary female characteristics. When this development ultimately did start a few years back, it especially has helped me to establish the normal, healthy situation which I am learning to accept now, and slowly shake off this 'curse' that was put on me.


Thoughts on the NymphCast project before its first release

Now that the first release of NymphCast (version 0.1) [1] is coming up soon, it's interesting to reflect on its development over the years, and what I imagine its future will be like.

Originally NC was intended to be just a simple way to stream local audio to a HiFi system or similar in the same room, as an alternative to proprietary solutions like AirPlay and ChromeCast, as well as Linux-only solutions like PulseAudio. This came largely from personal annoyances with the status-quo a few years back: AirPlay was a very Apple-centric thing, while ChromeCast didn't work reliably with anything, while the remaining solutions like PulseAudio brought little joy as well.

Now, a few years later, I have a couple of NymphCast systems set up. Some are just for playing back audio, while others can also do video. There's also a screensaver mode that shows images from a local folder when no content is being played back. The discovery of not only the NC Servers (connected to the speakers and/or display) as well as NC MediaServers (sharing media content on the LAN) is performed automatically using a custom UDP Broadcast-based protocol called NyanSD (Nyanko Service Discovery) that I feel improves on mDNS and DNS-SD if only on functionality and simplicity.

What I also like about the system in this v0.1 state is that it doesn't complicate matters with transcoding (video) content, instead putting the burden of decoding on the playback device alone. This means better quality, smaller content size (during network transfers) and the ability to stream content from even low-powered devices (cue Raspberry Pi-based NASes).

The drive towards efficiency has been a central focus during development, with a number of optimisations such as a lock-free ring buffer [2] for the local data buffer, and a zero-copy refactoring for the underlying remote procedure call library, NymphRPC [3]. Along the way I have learned many interesting details about hardware & operating system aspects, wrestled my way through sometimes vexing debugging challenges, and teamed up with a number of friends and acquaintances in making NC work.

I think perhaps the most difficult question to answer at this point is what NymphCast means to me. As many are eager to point out, NC is hardly the only (free/open source) project that allows for streaming of media content, and there are large HTPC-oriented projects that do everything plus the kitchen sink. In that sense one could say that I have 'wasted my time', but I feel that's rather unfair.

As mentioned, I have learned many things along the way, things which along with the gained experience have made me a better developer today. There are also many reasons why I prefer NC over any of those other projects for my personal use. Not the least of which is that I know every millimetre of it and have made it to fit my own needs first and foremost.

As a continuing way to challenge myself as a developer, its value is also hard to discard. I think the trick for me is to find more synergies with my other interests, such as embedded development, while ensuring that it all stays enjoyable. After all, it's still just a hobby project.

One thing I think will be fun with NymphCast in the future with v0.2 and beyond is that with the tough foundation work done, it is now relatively easy to add 'cool' features. Things like the AngelScript-based 'apps' that can be used to extend the functionality of a basic NC Server system somewhat like a ChromeCast or Apple TV system, only not necessarily restricted to just consuming commercial (streaming) content.

What exactly will happen with the NC project during the next development cycle for v0.2 is hard to say exactly as nothing is set in stone, but I'd be lying if I said that I'm not looking forward to it. Whether it'll ever become more than just a hobby toy is of no real concern to me. At the same time I have found some of the interactions with others about the project rather interesting and inspiring, and I'm flattered that the FreeBSD and Alpine Linux package repositories have up to date builds of NC.

It's been a long journey, with occasional intense stretches of work on NC. I'd be lying if I said it was always easy, but learning to temper my expectations and accepting it as a fun hobby project rather than as something more has made me feel that it was worth it. Today and hopefully in the future as well.


[1] https://github.com/MayaPosch/NymphCast
[2] https://mayaposch.wordpress.com/2021/11/12/lock-free-ring-buffer-implementation-for-maximum-throughput/
[3] https://mayaposch.wordpress.com/2021/11/11/refactoring-nymphrpc-for-zero-copy-optimisation/

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Self-sabotage, terror and the futility of dreaming

 There are times when you have to be brutally honest with yourself. As much as modern day life is about quick solutions, when it concerns something that has deeply sunk its roots into your very being, finding a suitable solution and implementing will take time. Any such solution begins with the recognition, identification and analysis of the actual problem. This is an aspect which is essential with any kind of long-term trauma, such as that experienced with abuse during one's childhood and/or youth, fighting or surviving in a war zone, and so on.

With how one's personality is formed from the amalgamation of successive experiences, each of which are influenced by preceding experiences, the earlier and more severe a traumatic experience was, the more severe its cumulative impact is likely to be if not quickly identified and treated.

When the term 'post-traumatic stress disorder' is mentioned, it sounds relatively cuddly and adorable. Even when for too many it means forever being stuck with this demon inside your head that feasts on any positive emotions. As some have described it, it feels like you're dead inside, aren't living in the same reality as everybody else and have become detached from everything, including yourself. Old hobbies from before the traumatic events don't feel enjoyable, subjects and entertainment you could relate to previously no longer make sense to you. And that's before the triggers and re-traumatising events that feel designed only to torture you.

Reading through the tales by survivors of war, abuse, as well as the stories of war veterans hammers these constant themes home. Simple things like feeling joy, or performing basic tasks in standard, civilian life have gone from straightforward to impossible challenges.

What am I complaining about here?

I don't remember much if anything of what happened to me as a five-year old child that made me reject everyone overnight, including my own mother. What happened that was so severe that I'd reject physical touch and the company of others? All I have to go by are some fragmented, unreliable bits of memory and the memories of others. Yet even so, that is where it appears the fear began. Instead of trusting others and continuing to seek out companionship, I withdrew into distrust and fear.

Should something have been done about that back then? Possibly. My mother, herself sadly personally acquainted with childhood abuse, never felt that a therapist or similar would be beneficial, and I guess my father didn't care enough. Thus I grew up safely on the family farm, even as the spectre of adulthood and its challenges crept closer.

Between my father cheating on my mother, their divorce, the repeated moving from place to place, first with my mother and brother, then by myself, I guess it fed into the whole internal fear and distrust about others. Of being left alone, of being abused by others, of not being able to trust others. Even as people helped me out along the way, I can see how I never managed to engage sufficiently to maintain social bonds.

As the years of trying to get medical answers about my intersex body dragged on and on, it too fed into this early trauma-based narrative. With conflicting conclusions and reports by medical professionals, and extreme, often conflicting views expressed by psychologists and psychiatrists along the way, it led me to a new narrative. That I do not know and therefore cannot trust myself. Not my body, not my own mind. I was wrong before about what it is, what I am, what is going on. Why would I ever put my trust into anything again?

The horrible thing about losing faith in yourself like that is probably that you end up in a situation where you either try to extract promises out of yourself - only to see them being broken - or to force yourself to do things that really need doing, the strain of which neither conducive to your mental health or energy levels. Until at some point you just break down, I guess. Getting out of this feedback loop, even if you're aware of it, is hard as it goes essentially against everything that your own mind is telling you.

There are a lot of things which I know I should do. There are many things which I know I could do. There are the things which I know I'm capable of, and yet between the terror I feel inside and the mental exhaustion it just makes me afraid that any illusions I hold of a better future are just that.

Despite acknowledging the problem I'm struggling with, I can find no clear-cut answer. Over the years I have done the whole thing with psychologists, psychotherapists, SSRI anti-depressants, EMDR therapy and what not, but I think what I'm missing there is that it doesn't really address the root of the problem. This is the problem that apparently began when I was a child, and which has seemingly only been worsened over the decades.

What I reckon would be immensely helpful would be the establishing of stability and safety. In a previous blog post a while back I mentioned that I'm looking for a job. Something that would provide me with more financial stability and certainty than the freelancing gig that I have been attempting the past years can offer. By reducing daily stress levels, it should become easier to address other issues.

Yet what I find causes me problems here is that it costs me an incredible amount of energy to wrestle through one impersonal job interview process after another, especially after going through dozens of them back in 2018/2019. As fun as it was to see more of the world with the on-site interviews, dealing with rejection after rejection did not help matters. Cue this process worsening the problem that I'm trying to address with this solution.

If I'm truly an experienced senior software developer, why am I still struggling? Cue imposter syndrome and the loss of more faith.
And even if I landed a job, would I be able to retain it? Cue more fear and deadly fatalism.

I guess at this point I'm trying to revert the long process of self-sabotage that comes courtesy of the positive feedback loop that is inherent in dealing with the cancerous growth of such doubts and questioning of oneself. Even though I cannot revert my past decisions to waste half my life on finding answers to impenetrable medical questions, or undo what someone apparently did to five-year old me, what I can do is to think of what is best for me, in the present. Even if that includes admitting that I cannot do this by myself, and exposing myself to the risk of trusting others.

Even if that somehow works out, there is still a lot more work to be done about myself and many more layers of old experiences to dig through for analysis. Yet with a bit of progress every day there can be a hope for an actual future. One day I hope to go through life not feeling afraid of everything, but feeling relaxed and safe. To be rid of this near-constant, instinctive fear that seems to fill me practically every waking moment while draining all traces of mental energy to cope with even daily life.

After all, what is there really to be terrified of in life? I'd like to find out.


Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Brain, not groin: how the concept of gender destroys individuality

 What is a person? A human being, who is born and grows up learning and discovering along the way. Because no person is born with exactly the same brain structure, and no person goes through the exact same experiences in their lives, each of them is an individual. Each individual has their own wishes and dreams, as well as their likes and dislikes. Each person thus forms a part of the rich tapestry of humankind, of which the most distinguishing feature is that of constant change and the betterment of humanity through the efforts of individuals.

The wish to erase this uniqueness, this sense of individuality, is something that occurs repeatedly throughout human history. Whether it is through tyranny or the social pressures that are exerted within societies upon individuals, the end result is that individual thought and action are suppressed, with a central view instead imposed upon the individual. The class systems that are still prevalent today are one form of this, somehow normalising the thought that some people are in fact better than others. Not due to merit, but by accident of birth - or as is common today - through commercial exploitation as in the case of e.g. idols and commercial sport.

A very specific class system is that involving the biological sex of individuals. This, too, is an accident of birth, with a roughly 50/50 chance of ending up with either set of reproductive organs, or - for a certain percentage of births - a mixture of both. What relevance does the reproductive system have to the individual? Since the reproductive system is not functional until puberty commences, the answer for children is 'very little', with society's discrimination based upon these organs playing the largest role by far.

Before a person is born, much of their life has already been determined by the sheer coincidence of their biological sex. From the colour of the baby room's wallpaper, to the sheer discrimination when it comes to baby and children's toys, clothing and entertainment. Not only are 'boy' and 'girl' individuals thus segregated, but also exposed to social programming that will continuously reinforce certain truisms which are kept in the society's subconsciousness.

One of these recurring truisms is that men and women are inherently different. That not only are their bodies obviously sexually dimorphic, but so too are their brains. That's why in some cultures, men are regarded as violent, impatient and poor at multitasking and finding things around the house, but also good at map reading, spatial awareness and being tough superheroes. It should not take one very long to discover that these are things which are in fact not true, just as is the case for similar platitudes and statements made regarding women.

The simple reason for this is individualism, and a distinct lack of sexual dimorphism in the human brain. Even when regarding the human body by itself, a wide variety can be observed in body types, even as society prefers to present certain body types as 'ideal'. In the past this has led to such atrocities as the 'wasp waist' - which was generally achieved through a very tightly bound corset and occasionally the removal of ribs - as well as bound feet among Chinese women until this practice was forbidden by the Communists. That these fashion styles were not beneficial to the health of the individual should be obvious without saying. Yet even today such practices still exist in some cultures.

In the end, what thus makes one's biological sex more than just a coincidence that affects one's personal development, is mostly society's social programming and indoctrination in the form of social gender roles, and less the influence of our body's endocrine system upon our mood and behaviour. Thus the question of what the effects of such social gender-based discrimination and segregation are on the individual. It should not take a brilliant mind to regard such social roles as essentially a form of society-promoted tyranny.

When scientific studies fail to show evidence for the truisms in society which underlie such gender role-based discrimination, then the reasonable action is to abandon these truisms. In a truly enlightened society, an individual could be themselves, while participating in said society out of their own volition. When an individual is instead coerced into a specific role and way of thinking, then that person has lost aspects of their individuality, having instead become a victim of that system.

Ultimately, the most essential sign of (human) intelligence should be the acknowledgement that what makes a person is what is going on in their mind, rather than their groin.


Saturday, 5 February 2022

The end of science, and humanity's fear of being alone

 If there is such a thing as real-life good versus evil, it may be found in humanity's struggle between reason and dogma.

When wandering tribes of hunter-gatherers established the seeds of modern society in places like Sumer and the subsequent Akkadian Empire, it would blossom into (among others) the civilisations of Ancient Egypt and Rome, bringing to people a life where clean water, hygiene with bathing houses and sewer systems, and general prosperity and happiness became attainable. Along with this came the liberty to contemplate the broader sense of life beyond mere survival, which culminated into the great thinkers of the merchant state of Ionia in what is now Greece, and the establishment of the great Library of Alexandria.

That is when the dogmatic rot began to set in. Rather than the violent destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the Roman Empire, their demise was marked with increasing corruption and reduced intellectual freedom. This is perhaps best illustrated by the adoption of one of the then new branches of the Abrahamic religion, which we now know as 'Christianity'. Rather than a pantheon of gods who were a reflection of fallible human beings, instead it was assumed that there was this singular Abrahamic god who was not only omnipotent, but also perfect and infallible.

Rather than gods as a sounding board for the internal struggles of humankind, this transitioned society into one where dogma and absolute obedience are an absolute given, something which probably pleased leaders, but also coincided with a neglected Library of Alexandria and the slow demise of ancient Rome as a beacon of civilisation and engineering prowess. As the bright flame of human civilisation guttered and turned into a sickly yellow pinprick of light, European civilisation descended into its thousand years of medieval regression. At this point it might have seemed that all hope was lost, and humanity was on its final, dystopian course towards its demise.

Yet beneath the suffocating blanket of dogma and Holy Wars, reason and with it science persisted. From monks tinkering with plant biology to the increasing trendiness among the affluent to 'do scientific experiments', science and engineering re-emerged like new growth after a wildfire. Throughout the Renaissance of the 15th century and subsequent Age of Enlightenment which began in the 17th century, the old became new again, and society began to pick up where the ravages of dogma had left it floundering for over a millennium.

In many ways, today's society is still struggling with the same old questions of the Enlightenment, churning over and over through the benefits versus disadvantages of separating church and state, to question freedom of thought. Not only with religious freedom, but also including the freedom to discard dogma altogether. After all, what reasonable argument can be made for the Roman or Greek pantheon of gods being any less real or vice versa than the Abrahamic god or the gods of any of the world's other religions? Aren't they, when reasonably regarded, not merely allegories and reflections of the human mind?

Throughout history, humankind has rejoiced in the opportunity to convince others of them being wrong on some dogmatic topic. Whether it concerned religion, nationalism, or another topic which seemed so incredibly important and just at the time, dogma has caused untold suffering at the hands of those who were convinced of this dogmatic belief. At the same time, dogma also has provided humanity with something it craves so strongly: a sense of belonging and stability. These are things which are now being threatened more than ever.

When we look at science-fiction stories - whether in book, TV or movie format - they all share a common theme: there is other life, other civilisations out there. Surely the Milky Way Galaxy must be teeming with life, after all? Yet it's easy to forget that, although from a recent historical perspective it seemed natural that explorers would find other humans living elsewhere on Earth, those humans too originally came from a central location on this planet. Many thousands of years ago, the first human explorers were the first humans ever to visit parts of this planet. They did not meet existing tribes, just a world devoid of humans.

Based on everything we know today, from Earth-based telescopes and space probes we sent out into Deep Space, there is no sign that there is other life elsewhere in this entire Galaxy. That would mean that as we find our way outside of our solar system, through Deep Space and explore other solar systems and galaxies, we would be the first one there. There would be no cheerful, aggressive, paranoid or idyllic civilisations and worlds waiting for us like Sci-Fi wants us to believe. No Klingons and Romulans, or Vulcan faster-than-light ships zipping by Earth. Just the complete silence of galaxies devoid of humans.

Amidst this silence, we would find our dogmas falter. We'd have no nationalism (or planetism?) to fight over, nothing to prove, argue or defend. Just empty worlds and quiet, sometimes dark worlds amidst the void of Outer Space. Quiet places that will only reflect our own humanity back at us when we look at them. There is nothing to conquer, no enemy to defeat but our own ghosts. All the comforts and certainties we have established on Earth over millennia are meaningless here.

Will new dogmas arise in this environment? Will reason and science win out at long last? Can humankind survive when it is thrust back out into the wilds like this, to face its own solitude? In some science-fiction works, such as the Gundam series, humanity establishes colonies beyond Earth, followed by those worlds eventually turning against Earth, setting the stage for interplanetary conflict. In this scenario humanity would continue what the ancient Sumerians and Akkadians already did: nationalism, conquering and keeping the bright red flame of dogma burning as it is fed with more blood and more suffering.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for humanity is thus not whether it can establish a foothold beyond Earth and travel among the stars, but rather whether it can conquer its own internal needs and fears, to let go of this infantile desire for dogma, and to work up the courage to look up and see things for what they truly are. Even if it means abandoning comfortable self-deception.


Sunday, 23 January 2022

The gendered brain myth and excusing sex-based discrimination

 Everyone knows that women are more emotionally sensitive, while men have the emotional capacity of a turnip. It's also a common fact that men have better spatial awareness, can read maps unlike women, and this is then portrayed as an evolutionary left-over from our hunter-gatherer days. Back then, it is said, women would stay back at the camp to take care of the children while the men would take their grizzled selves out to take down more big prey.

In many ways it's a comfortable fantasy, one which supports the current societal notion that men and women are simply different, and thus it is only natural to assume that they will have different interests and paths in life. While some changes here are noticeable - such as in most societies granting women personhood in the form of voting rights and not requiring a guardian to handle their affairs - the notion that a child is confronted with even before they are born is that men and woman are simply different.

Although the generally less muscular nature of women is used with these arguments too, primary to this statement is that male and female brains are somehow 'different' (dimorphic). Essentially this is a modern-day version of phrenology, the once seriously considered pseudo-science that assumed that it could deduce anything of worth from a person's skull and related features. Phrenology supported everything from slavery (as non-Caucasians were deemed 'inferior') to the treatment of women as less than men, along with other pseudo-scientific views that excused what was essentially wide-scale discrimination against anyone born with female genitals.

Many years ago, I was indoctrinated in this way of thinking as well. All of these statements about how men and women were supposedly different rang true for me, even though neither I nor my brothers were raised in a gender-discriminating manner by our parents. It was just the way that the world supposedly worked. What changed my views there were the years that I spent dealing with the discovery of my intersex body, and coming to terms with the fact that my body was not as assumed previously male, but phenotypically primarily female.

What did this mean for my brain? Based on what I had been told, and what I had grown up with, the assumption was that this meant that my brain had to be either male or female. For years I would struggle with this notion, while being reassured by psychologists and medical professionals that I just had to figure out whether I 'felt' more 'male' or 'female' so that I could decide on what my body should look like to match my brain's gender.

The irony here is perhaps that while initially I translated my discomfort with my situation into the notion that I 'felt female', while having a male body, and even began hormone therapy to establish female hormone levels, at some point my body reasserted its own female hormone production and I was hurled straight into a proper female puberty. My 'male' body turned out to be a hermaphroditic intersex body, with naturally female phenotype and hormone levels. Some biochemical messages had apparently just been delayed by years.

When it came to figuring out the 'feeling' part, one of the biggest revelations came to me in the form of a study by Daphna Joel et al. (2015) [1], which examined the brains of male and female participants with an fMRI scanner to see whether in their brain activity any indications could be found of this purported 'male/female divide' within the human brain.

As it turns out, they couldn't find any indication of this, with each individual brain forming its own unique mosaic of activity. Alongside my own experiences this completed the picture of each human being having their own unique brain, without any sign of dimorphism, together with a body that showed many degrees of variation as well.

Today's society still seems to insist on discriminating between individuals based on their genitals and presumed 'brain gender', with no sign of letting up on this practice. Yet as science shows, this is an outdated practice, with no basis in reality. Individuals are denied or granted privileges purely based on this presumed 'gender', and societal gender-based roles are the norm rather than the exception. All of which raises the question of just how far society has truly progressed since the first cries for equal rights for men and women.

What was instructive for me here was how many years I could live as a 'male' in society with only the occasional bouts of confusion due to my more feminine build. When asserting a female identity, however, society's views and treatment of me as a female person changed noticeably, even though I did not.

This raises the uncomfortable question of why society continues to discriminate between men and women, when in the end the only aspect that truly differs between them is their reproductive system and associated hormones. If that is the aspect that matters, then intersex people would necessarily be partially carved off into their own 'societal gender roles'. After all, where does a person like me with female hormone levels, but both male and female genitals fit in with?

Any division made here that doesn't acknowledge people as their own person without segregation feels both unnatural and unethical.


[1] https://www.pnas.org/content/112/50/15468

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Getting a career back on track

 There are those moments where you find yourself wondering what exactly it is that you're headed towards in your life. If the answer is 'not much', then that might explain some frustrations you're experiencing. Whether stuck in a dead-end job, or dealing with the fall-out from years of a tumultuous, traumatic life, the hardest but also most important step is to admit for yourself that you're not happy, and that you want things to change.

What does it take to be happy? If I were to consider my own life the past few years, it would have to be about regaining a measure of control, instead of being tossed around passively like a piece of driftwood. Merely promising myself that things would suddenly change for the better through a project like NymphCast [1], or by having my autobiography published. Pinning your hopes on such things doesn't make you regain control of your life.

Of course, I will readily admit the things which I have learned from the NymphCast project. It's been a great lesson in project management and development on embedded systems, getting to know the intricacies of aligned memory access with the NymphRPC project [2] on ARM processors while implementing a zero copy optimisation. Also small things like creating a lock-free ring buffer implementation [3].

Implementing service discovery in a more light-weight way than that offered by mDNS and kin in the form of NyanSD [4] taught me a lot about UDP broadcasting and provided NymphCast with a reliable, cross-platform way to discover NymphCast receivers, clients and media servers on the same network. Much like my experiences with the Nodate STM32 embedded C++ project [5], none of that was wasted time or effort, as it all gave me the opportunity to nurture my skills as a software developer.

When I left my previous job at the end of 2017, I literally travelled around the world for job interviews. I clearly was making a solid enough impression during the early (remote) tests. Where things would fall apart was always with the in-person interviews, and when I looked at some short videos I made of myself in late 2019, I understood why.

The glassy, distant look in my eyes. The impression of someone who isn't really quite present in the here and now. Having had a few years now to work on this aspect, I think I'm doing much better now in that regard. As evidenced by the videos on my YouTube channel of the past years where I read the short stories I have written, I'm gradually learning to open up more and come to terms with the fact that I do have an actual body. Same with the way that I interact with people.

Of course, the past few years also have been a major confrontation with the traumatic experiences that I have been pushing ahead of me for many years now, including those involving my existence as an intersex person and what this fact means to me. I'd be a terrible liar if I said that any of this was easy to deal with, or that I'm done dealing with all of it.

What I do know is that I'm doing much better than I did a few years ago, both physically and mentally. Also that I'm now at a point where I seriously have to seek the next steps in fixing up my life. This one involving my career.

Although as stated the projects which I have tinkered with the past few years have been and continue to be interesting and useful, in the end they are hobby projects. Great additions for my CV [6], of course, but you don't build a career and livelihood on top of a few hobby projects unless you're incredibly lucky.

So, as a result I'll be actively seeking out new (remote) jobs the coming time that will allow me to expand my career and horizons, continuing my progress the past few years. No doubt it'll be anything but easy, what with the entire world currently (still) being on fire, but one has to start somewhere :)


[1] https://github.com/MayaPosch/NymphCast
[2] https://github.com/MayaPosch/NymphRPC
[3] https://github.com/MayaPosch/LockFreeRingBuffer
[4] https://github.com/MayaPosch/NyanSD
[5] https://github.com/MayaPosch/Nodate
[6] http://www.mayaposch.com/cv.php