Monday, 31 December 2012

As The New Year Beckons; What Awaits

As I'm typing this during the last hours of the year 2012 it's hard not to compare the situation I was in a year ago with today. The main feeling accompanying this comparison is one of exhausted, but minor satisfaction. The points where it mattered the most, such as my struggle against the Dutch hospitals and associated, as well as my personal living situation have improved considerably. My intersex condition has been acknowledged, I got my legal gender changed and I now have one of the best Dutch personal damages lawyers representing me in the case against the Dutch hospitals. This lawyer, Yme Drost, has recognized that my basic human rights have been infringed upon through the treatment by Dutch physicians and psychologists.

I am now also living on my own together with a girlfriend, Joanna, whom I love with all my heart. None of those things I could have expected early this year. So many times things seemed to be going lopsided and I can not count the number of times that I just broke down for no apparent reason and was ready to just give up on everything. My mom above all is beyond relieved that things have turned out like this, having had to support me from early 2011 on after things went so horribly wrong in January that year.

To be fair I see this period mostly as a bit of a breathing period. It's going to be a harrowing time financially next year as well as in other areas, as big decisions will have to be made and solutions found for other issues. I still have one more surgery to go, for which I haven't found a surgeon yet due to once again my unique physiology. The legal case against the Dutch hospitals will begin in earnest in February of 2013 as the first hearing by the medical disciplinary commission against the VUmc's gender team will take place in that month. The outcome of this is everything but certain. There's also the thousands of Euros kept hostage by my insurance company, Unive, which they refuse to pay to cover the expenses I have made for hair-removal due to my intersex condition. Again the discrimination also displayed by Dutch hospitals - among others - seems to play a major role here.

Intersex as a taboo in the Netherlands, and of course outside it. It's going to be one of the central items for me in 2013 and hopefully for the world media as well. With me having gained a foothold in the media with the possibility of a documentary being made about intersex featured around my story, it seems as though times may finally be changing after all of the struggles the past eight years. Hopefully 2013 will be the year that this taboo vanishes for ever.

Making up the balance, and looking back at the blog post I wrote about a year ago, I'd say that I have become more hopeful, stronger and in many ways even more mature than before. I also realize all too well that I'm at most half-way on the path which needs to be traveled in order to reach the end of this nightmare I found myself in due to the simple act of being born into a backwards, Calvinistic and intolerant society and country.

I sincerely hope that my girlfriend and I can say farewell to the country of the Netherlands before 2013 ends. My girlfriend has gone through many layers of Hell starting in her early youth, caused by her direct family and worsened by the so-called child-protection services in the Netherlands. Even now she can find virtually no support or recognition in this country for everything she had to endure physically, emotionally and otherwise. In many ways our stories are parallels of each other, featuring the same uncaring attitudes of Dutch health- and other types of care, not to mention the closed-off nature of Dutch society. It's time we started living in a country where those who do not fit into narrow labels are treated like actual human beings.

Consider this to be our new year's resolution.


Maya & Joanna

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Initial Hearing Against VUmc Gender Team In February 2013

Two days ago I got an email from my lawyer, Yme Drost, regarding the case at the medical disciplinary commission against the VUmc hospital's gender team. The initial hearing in the investigation has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 12th 2013. During this hearing the defending party, consisting out of Dr. P.T. Cohen-Kettenis (psychiatrist), Dr. W. de Ronde (endocrinologist), Dr. M.A.A. van Trotsenburg (gynaecologist) and Dr. J.H.T.M. van Waesberghe (radiologist), will possibly be present as well. At stake is the claim by my lawyer and me that the aforementioned performed inadequate diagnostics considering the state of medical knowledge and technology at the time, and have generally acted unprofessionally.

More detailed, the gender team as a whole has not followed protocol considering the diagnosis and treatment of transgender/intersex cases, violated my right to decide about my own body, refused medical scans, (genetic) tests and ultrasounds where they would have been relevant, ignored evidence from German clinics, improperly interpreted MRI scans and completely ignored my wishes and questions. The disciplinary commission's task is to establish in how far the VUmc's gender team has indeed failed in performing their assigned duties, and to decide about possible correcting measures.

I will be travelling to Amsterdam with my lawyer on February the 12th to be present at this hearing. It is with great relief that I will be present, as maybe now, after eight years of inhumane struggles justice may finally be served.


Maya

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Judgment Of Health Insurance Netherlands: Intersex Doesn't Exist

Today I received the judgement from SKGZ regarding whether or not my health insurance company, Unive, has to fully cover the permanent hair-removal therapy I'm forced to undergo due to my intersex condition. Their conclusion, contradicting statements made during the hearing [1] a while ago, was that I'm not transgender and haven't undergone surgery or have physical conditions which would warrant such therapy for medical or psychological reasons and thus won't need to be fully covered. The mere 300 Euro a year Unive covers now due to the extended insurance I have with them covers less than half of the costs, with me paying much of that amount myself due to having that extended insurance in the first place.

The final report from SKGZ doesn't list intersex anywhere in the conclusion, fully omitting it as a possible argument to use in favour of me. The overseeing organization for health insurance in the Netherlands, CVZ, also ignored the intersex part. They are ignoring that I am undergoing this therapy because I am _physically_ at least partially female, look female and wish to live in a female role, but due to my intersex condition I had an elevated testosterone level which led to facial hair growth which causes psychological issues for me. It's not optional for me to have it removed.

With this decision I have to once again wonder whether medical institutions and insurance companies/organizations in the Netherlands are all united in this... discrimination against intersex individuals, ignoring their existence and only admitting their existence where it will lead to surgery to 'correct' it. Salient detail is that if I had faked being a transsexual I would have had full coverage here from Unive. No questions asked.

Yet I didn't. And why? Because I only want to be myself, even if it means getting punished for it by every institution and so-called physician and psychologist in the Netherlands for it. Apparently the Netherlands continues its legacy of being an intolerant, backwards, Calvinistic and infuriatingly bureaucratic country.

Someone get me out of here...


Maya


[1] http://mayaposch.blogspot.nl/2012/11/hearing-against-unive-aftermath.html

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Frightening Campfire Stories: Reggefiber, The Horrors Of Dutch Bureaucracy

Before my girlfriend and I moved into our current apartment here in Almere, we looked at the options for internet. I automatically assumed that fiber internet would be available since virtually all of Almere is connected to the city-wide grid. Upon a closer check it turned out that this would not be the case. Despite being smack in the middle of the coverage zone, the apartment was listed as not having fiber available as option. Flabbergasted, I signed up for fiber once it would become available and settled for a sluggish 4 Mbit ADSL connection with provider XS4All while things worked out.

Once living in the apartment we learned that most people in the apartment building either were using fiber internet, or had the necessary wiring installed at least. The previous occupants of this apartment building must have refused to have the wiring installed back in 2009/2010. Now we would have to ensure that it could be installed. Our provider, XS4All, just let us know that we'd have to get the necessary wiring installed, and thus I looked at contacting the single company managing all fiber networks in the Netherlands: Reggefiber. Their response however was brief and quite cryptic, I'd have to let my provider carry out a feasibility check of installing the wiring. XS4All's response was one of puzzlement: they had never even heard of such a check.

Fast forward a few months, during which Reggefiber ensured me that I'd just have to ask permission from the neighbours living below us in the building to have the wiring installed - which we did - and XS4All's management contacted Reggefiber to inquire about this feasibility check. Eventually XS4All got the forms from Reggefiber needed for the check, and within a few weeks it showed that it was totally possible. Late last month I was able to order the 50 Mbit fiber install package with XS4All as availability at our address was changed to 'available'. Now we have the green light from the site, the fiber install package with the modem, a free installation courtesy of XS4All on hold, and we are waiting for Reggefiber to install the wiring. This should happen before the end of the year, they ensured me.

What most baffles about me about this whole thing is Reggefiber's insistence throughout this whole ordeal that fiber would not be available at this address, this despite the address being in the middle of the coverage zone, the rest of building being wired up already, and their records should show that an install attempt was made a few years ago, but refused by the technophobic people who previously lived in this apartment. For them it should have been a simple 'okay, we'll have it installed now' response, but instead we got the run-around for half a year, baffling even a grizzled, experienced ISP like XS4All, and still don't have things sorted out yet.

Experiences like these are seemingly typical of Dutch companies and government instances. Their whole support departments seem to be focused on confusing and wearing down customers and the like until they finally give up and leave them alone. Dutch bureaucracy has to be among the worst in the world in how it's customer-hostile, inefficient and bogged down by its own stacks of conflicting rules, regulations and dysfunctional administrations.

I just hope that we'll have fiber internet before New Year's now.


Maya

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Dangers Of Seeking Help

Two posts ago I mentioned that I'm looking for a surgeon who can help me fix the last part of my body which still requires medical attention, also to ensure that the unusual female anatomy I possess does not cause issues in the future. I got a few leads thanks to responses on Google+ and Facebook. Unfortunately this hasn't led to any results yet. The few places which did respond merely told me that they don't do sex reassignment surgeries. Even though those are completely unrelated to the type of surgery I require: the restoration of an existing vagina. Not to create an artificial one, but to do whatever is possible with an existing female organ.

The results of these rejections has brought back many unpleasant memories. In many ways it has made me realize that despite some recognition of being intersex legally and in the media, in the end it doesn't mean much. I'm still on my own on this, and I still have to fight for every single inch of ground. The more I deal with finding help with something I need or require, the more I risk losing myself again and possibly my life. In the end it seems I still do not belong in this society.

This is the response I wrote a brief while after receiving the last rejection notice: "Just got an email back from the largest hospital in Munich, Germany regarding the surgery I still require to fix my female side. Their response was a brief and crude 'no, we don't do sex change operations for transsexuals'. Even though it doesn't concern a sex change operation, nor am I transsexual. Heck, they even responded in German, while I wrote my question in English. Why'd they even assume I could understand the reply?

"After just a few attempts to get a surgeon interested in my case like this, I already feel despair setting in. It's both familiar and frightening to feel my self-worth as a person fading again, as I'm once more reduced to a nobody.

"Nobody understands me. Nobody will help me. Nobody is going to lift a finger to help me survive. I may as well not exist..."

I really hope that I can get through this period. I'm not sure how long I'll last if this keeps up. Between everything else in my life, I barely have time for a breather once in a while.


Maya

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Psychology Behind Unive's Discrimination Against Intersex

Today I received another letter from SKGZ. As with every time since the hearing a while ago, I fear that it's the letter spelling out their conclusion. At stake is thousands of Euros for me which I have spent already over the past years, as well as the basic human rights of intersex individuals. Right now intersex individuals do not exist in medical insurance coverage. When it comes to hair-removal due to hormonal imbalances, or specific types of therapies and surgeries, regular males and females as well as transgender individuals are covered. Yet intersex individuals do not exist in these regulations.

The Dutch government determines what is and isn't covered in the base insurance which all health insurance companies have to provide, and yet they failed to cover a condition which has been known for decades, as evidenced by the 1980s Dutch law I used earlier this year to have my official gender changed, which specifically is aimed at intersex individuals. And thus uncaring insurance companies like Unive feel justified in discriminating against a group which isn't even acknowledged by their own government, aside from a few artifacts.

Today's letter from SKGZ, which has the power to change health insurance coverage, wasn't anything conclusive, thankfully, though it did contain a response from Unive on the additional medical evidence I had sent to SKGZ after the hearing to fortify my claim that I am in fact intersex. SKGZ has fortunately already recognized that there is a gap in the regulations where intersex individuals should have been covered. Now they just need to acknowledge that I am indeed intersex. Why I think that this might be an issue is because in the Netherlands no one has ever acknowledged me as being intersex outside the Alkmaar court and this one physician at the ZGT Almelo. This is probably exactly why Unive is persisting in their current course.

The response from Unive was essentially that they had sent the MRI scans, German medical reports, the ZGT Almelo physician's statement, etc. to their medical advisers, who supposedly then told Unive that they saw no reason to change from their earlier position, that my situation doesn't necessitate them to fully cover the therapies I am forced to undergo as a result of my intersex condition, and that there's no reason for them to clarify their position in any way or fashion.

This arrogant stance can in my view only be due to a smug sense at Unive's side that SKGZ will also deny that I'm intersex and thus deny my claim against Unive. This is a worry I also expressed to SKGZ during the hearing, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Of course, if SKGZ does this, they'd go in against the findings of three German clinics and the judgement of the Dutch legal system, as all of these have found me to be intersex.

I really hope that this will all be over soon and that SKGZ will decide in my favour. It'd really make my life a lot easier knowing that there's still the possibility of justice in the Netherlands despite everything.


Maya

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Finding A Surgeon, Help With It And Media Attention

A few weeks ago there was the possibility that I'd be appearing on the KRO-NRCV discussion show 'Debat op 2' ('Debate on 2'), regarding the SCP report on the treatment of transgenders in the Netherlands. This at the recommendation of a Dutch transgender woman I have communicated with before. After discussing my topic with the editor of the show and waiting for him to get back to me the next day, I learned that I would not be on the show, but that the NCRV has interest in making a documentary about my story. The editor expressed a distinct interest in coupling this with the surgery I still need, specifically the surgery whereby my existing vagina will be attached to the perineum and labia created. This surgery is impossible in the Netherlands due to the refusal of Dutch surgeons to a) acknowledge that I'm intersex, b) that it would even be possible and c) because they only do male to female and female to male surgeries here.

For this reason I have to find a surgeon elsewhere in the world, in Europe or outside it. I started researching this one hospital near Berlin someone had mentioned a while ago, but I couldn't remember the name and a Google search wasn't fruitful either. Worse, the resulting search results related to mostly intersex issues and troubles brought back a lot of unpleasant memories for me. Feeling sickened but still determined to find a surgeon to get this last surgery out of the way, I asked for help on Google+ [1] and Facebook [2]. The responses I got are pretty encouraging.

The most interesting of the responses involves one Marci Bowers [3], a famous US surgeon who performs free surgeries for genitally mutilated women. I'm not sure whether she'd be interested in my case, but it's worth a try. Another response I got involves two German clinics who perform vagina reconstructions. I have contacted these clinics as well. I'm most interested in learning what they think of my case.

I also hope that I'll be able to arrange this surgery soon due to the media attention there is now. There's this documentary by the NCRV, and also the attention from Pride Photo Award, who have contacted the photographer - Eric Brinkhorst - who is working with me and my girlfriend to produce the series, to express their interest. The surgery would be an excellent focus point. This should be an awesome way to start the new year, is my thinking.

Here's paws crossed to a successful few months :)


Maya


[1] https://plus.google.com/114822401067576646327/posts/FqJEfPVqCV3
[2] https://www.facebook.com/mayaposch/posts/534357153242737
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marci_Bowers

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hearing Against Unive: Aftermath

Last Wednesday I had the hearing against Unive which I discussed previously. To summarize: my insurance company (Unive) refuses to fully cover the electrolysis therapy I require to remove the facial hair I suffer from as a result of my intersex condition messing up my testosterone balance. Their excuse is that my situation isn't covered by the existing policy conditions for regular women or transsexuals and thus it's not comparable.

The hearing at the SKGZ office in Zeist, Netherlands, took only about half an hour. The representative from Unive was called in by phone. I won't go into the details of the entire hearing as it was mostly a summing up of the current facts, and Unive insisting that there was no evidence of me even being intersex, including that according to Unive's medical advisers the merging of two embryos resulting into an intersex person is impossible. The lawyer representing SKGZ then suggested to Unive that maybe there is a hole in the regulations where there should be something about intersex individuals in addition to women and transsexuals. Unive grudgingly admitted to this. At this point it felt like things were heading in the right direction for me.

Then it was determined that although SKGZ had the ruling by the court in Alkmaar that I could change my legal gender due to being intersex, the only medical reports SKGZ had were the letters by the surgeon in Germany, which were deemed insufficient as more details would be required. I told SKGZ that I would send them the MRI and other reports, as well as copies of the MRI scans themselves the same day. I did also inform SKGZ that Unive had so far refused any cooperation when it came to genetic research for me outside the Netherlands, and also of the legal case I have running against the VUmc gender team due to them and other Dutch hospitals falsely declaring that I am not intersex. I expressed my worry that a similar thing would happen at the SKGZ. I got ensured that this would not happen. After this the hearing soon ended.

Once home I submitted the requested data to SKGZ. I am currently awaiting further details on what they decide. I expect that they will conclude just like the Alkmaar court that I am in fact intersex and that there's no existing clause in the insurance policy covering people like me, and thus a new one will have to be added for people like me. This should ideally give me that which I desire: recognition as intersex by my insurance company and thus intersex as a recognized condition by insurance companies in the Netherlands, plus compensation for the many thousands of Euros I had to pay myself for this electrolysis therapy which I require to deal with the strong emotional impact of being a woman in looks but with something which could grow into something resembling a beard.

In summary: there's still absolutely nothing for intersex people in the Netherlands, but if this works out the way I hope, there'll soon by another piece of the required recognition.


Maya

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hearing Against Unive: Discrimination Against Intersex

Tomorrow I'll be attending the first hearing against my insurance company Unive. The SKGZ organization will be presiding over the hearing, as they prepare to lay down a ruling in this case. At stake is whether or not Unive should fully cover the electrolysis therapy I'm undergoing in order to remove excess facial hair growth. As I pursue a female role in daily life I feel very uncomfortable with this hair growth. Now that I'm officially registered as a female, and the cause of the excess hair growth is medically proven to be due to my intersex condition, i.e. hormonal, I fall under regulations for both transsexuals and regular women with hormonal issues.

So far Unive has declined to give a reason for why they refuse to fully cover electrolysis in my case, merely saying that their medical advisers say that intersex doesn't qualify because it's 'very different'. It's going to be interesting to see and hear how they'll respond now. I'm very curious about who else will be present at the hearing, whether it's from SKGZ or from Unive. I'd like to see the latter try and say to my face that I do not qualify for full coverage because my case is so different from transsexuals and regular women. The suspicion of discrimination is hard to suppress.

I just hope that SKGZ will rule that Unive has to fully cover the therapy so that I can get back the nearly 6,000 Euro I have spent on it so far over the past years. It'd be money I could really use, both for myself and for the intersex cause.


Maya

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pride Photo Award Pitch Won By Intersex

Last time I wrote about 'De Donkere Kamer' ('The Dark Room') photography event in Amsterdam, which was organized together with Pride Photo Award. During this event three pitches were presented by photographers aimed at getting money from the public for their project. I was present at this event as well last Monday from 8 PM until 10.30 PM. A recording of the entire event can be found here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxKCJrEnsyM (Dutch spoken). Short summary: Eric Brinkhorst with his pitch to get me money for the surgery I need as well as to promote the intersex cause won first place. Total amount won is a few hundred Euro, the total amount I'll hear later. All of this will go towards the intended goals. I'll still need help with finding the surgeon for this controversial surgery, though. Germany is my first pick right now.

Now that I have money for travel and such expenses, I'd really appreciate help with finding said surgeon. There's supposedly a good clinic near Berlin, but it's pretty stressful for me to establish contact with any potential surgeons, worsened by the language barrier with relatively few German people speaking good English. Maybe I should start offering a monetary award for helping me find a surgeon after previous failed attempts :)


Maya

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Still No One Gets The Intersex Tragedy

Two days ago, on Thursday August 18th, me and my girlfriend appeared on TLC Netherlands' new show 'TLC Over...' ('TLC about...') with my story as part of an episode on taboos. In the run-up to this show's airing and the recordings over a month ago, there was the strong suggestion by those I talked to including the producer of the show, Saskia Elings, at Palm Plus Media, that they'd really cover my story and had a lot of interest in it. During the recordings the host of the show, Birgit Schuurman, even mentioned repeatedly how important she thought that covering the need for me to get that final surgery which would open up my female side was. To me she said that she hoped the broadcast would help me get said surgery, itself being impossible in the Netherlands due to outdated protocols and morals. In the end, though, the episode was about 80% filled with a prostitute trying to convince her mom that her way of earning money was just fine. There was also this guy with a cast fetish and finally as the smallest segment there was my part, summarized as me having a hard time, but now I finally found love and everything is fine now. Not a word about the surgery, or the other big issues I am still dealing with. The intersex tragedy was merely glossed over.

After swallowing some more bitter disappointment I sent the producer the following email (translated from Dutch):

"After having seen the episode I can say that I have no interest whatsoever to put it on my site. Literally only 10% of the episode was spent on my topic, or even less. It quickly skimmed over my problems and after that that I am now supposedly happy because I have found love. Everything I have told about the surgery I still need and such weren't included. Even though Birgit (ed: host of the show) and the others during the recordings indicated that they found this to be very important. During the recordings my partner and I talked a great deal about this subject due to this.

"This while especially the SM fetish got a lot of attention with also a bit of cast fetish. The result was a relatively weak episode which brought very few taboos to one's attention. For what calls itself 'the Learning Channel' this was a downright humiliation. The required surgery for me is exactly what this taboo is about since this surgery can simply not be done in the Netherlands by surgeons exactly because it is a taboo. The Netherlands is a heavily conservative country.

"I do not regret cooperating on this show, but it was a major disappointment and will ultimately mean nothing to me or other intersexuals. This is a huge missed opportunity. The next time that I'll get an offer like this for an appearance on a show I'll look at it much more critically before I'll sign up."

Considering that I'm still trapped in a country where politicians, physicians and psychologists alike deny the existence of intersex, or that these are individuals with their own human rights instead of toys to be used at their leisure, I'd hardly say that I'm in a happy place yet. In fact I'd say that the nightmare I have been stuck in for decades has lessened in severity, but the moment I relent in my efforts it'll still be game over. The VUmc's gender team and the other physicians and psychologists I came into contact with still want to save their own skin and will gladly sacrifice me to accomplish that. They will deny that they made any mistakes in my case, and that they're doing anything (morally) wrong in the case of other intersex individuals, including infants who can not even fight back. This are still the trenches in a long, exhausting and very dirty war.

After the mess at the Dolhuys museum and this TLC fluffy reality show it's hard to really put one's faith into any more public events. One possible exception which I hope will work out is an event called 'De Donkere Kamer' ('The Dark Room'), which is organized together with Pride Photo Award. As the brochure states: "Monday evening 22 October 2012 a special edition of De Donkere Kamer will take place, made in cooperation with Pride Photo Award. This special edition of De Donkere Kamer looks for three photographers who feel inspired by the theme sexual- and gender diversity and who want to pitch their project in three minutes with as goal to collect money for realizing their project. The public determines how the entry money for the evening will be divided over the three projects. Pride Photo Award is an international photo contest about sexual- and gender diversity. They fight for a more nuanced image of homosexuals and lesbians in the international view. Go for more information to the website of Pride Photo Award: www.pridephotoaward.org"

The photographer who took the pictures of me for the article in the AD newspaper earlier this year, and whose pictures also appeared in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper with the article on me, contacted me in relation to this event. This photographer, Eric Brinkhorst, submitted his pitch to the contest involving helping me get that surgery I mentioned earlier and promoting the intersex cause. His pitch got accepted and last Thursday we took the pictures of me (and my girlfriend, of course) which will be shown during the pitch on Monday. I'll be present there as well.

I think that people like Eric are the people who actually get the intersex tragedy and will help to bring it to the attention of people. Naturally this event isn't without benefit to him, but it's also an example which shows that one can do proper journalism and still gain something from it. Fluffy reality shows are for the mindless public. Journalism is for those who want to expand borders and right that which is wrong while making their name part of history.

Here's to hoping that Monday's event will somewhat restore my faith in things after this last series of less than pleasant happenings.


Maya

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Abandoning Reason In A Make-Believe World

Last Thursday it was time for me to appear in court regarding the vandalism case where I had supposedly knowingly and willingly broken a few items at a family doctor's place, despite suffering horrific psychological and physical trauma as a result [1]. After a 2.5 hour delay thanks to the previous cases taking much longer, including one I followed involving someone who regularly beats up people and still hasn't received any real punishment, my case came for the judge. It was then quickly discovered that my lawyer didn't have some documents. Now it'll take another few months before anything happens in the case again. I do know that I am going for complete dismissal of the case against me now, though. I'm not even going to relent and pay up any money, or accept any kind of guilty verdict.

Not having more than a few scattered memory fragments of the event in question plays a strong role here, as I can not see myself as guilty when I do not have any recollection of causing the damage in question, or what the reasoning behind it may have been. All I know is that I was under an impossible amount of stress at the time, desperate to finally solve the medical mystery of my body after systematic denial of help by Dutch 'specialists' for over six years at that point, and in a less than stable emotional state after having attempted to commit suicide about two months earlier. My psycho-therapist has diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Chronic Stress Disorder, all resulting from the excessive stress I had to endure thanks to Dutch physicians and psychologists. These disorders all can lead to moments of complete or partial blackouts, during which the person in question can act in a manner inconsistent with that person's primary personality and portray aggressive, depressed or other excessive traits.

Yesterday I also received message from SKGZ, the organization dealing with my case against insurance company Unive regarding the full coverage of the electrolysis therapy. This basically involves me receiving therapy to get rid of the facial hair I developed as a result of having an elevated testosterone level due to my intersex condition. For both regular women with a hormone imbalance and for transsexuals this therapy is covered fully by insurance, yet Unive claims that for intersex individuals this is not the case, and that I will have to pay it myself, despite the costs having passed five-thousand Euro a long time ago already. Wednesday the 31st of October I'll attend a hearing about this. Hopefully I can sway some minds there.

All of this keeps reminding me how much alike this is to kindergarten where children keep coming up with their make-belief stories which they act out in full conviction. Here too so-called adults have created this make-belief world in which people have to act in a certain way and where things are defined and governed by specific rules and regulations. Their reality is shaped by this system. I know very well that what Dutch physicians, psychologists and politicians did to me over the years is horrific and morally wrong in every regard. I know that what happened during that vandalism incident last year was due to me having been bullied again and again until something broke inside of me. I know that Unive is wrong on this count, that they should just pay the full amount as I am more female than any male-to-female transsexual, wish to live fully in a female role and suffer a lot due to having facial hair.

And yet due to the make-belief world of rules, regulations, traditions, insurance policies, managers and other assorted systems, none of this matters. I'm a mere toy to this faceless, vicious entity. What I know to be right and the simple truth is irrelevant. That it makes me feel horrible and suicidal is irrelevant. Nothing I do matters to this inhumane collection of insanity. I do trudge on in the hope that things will turn out better soon, but only by constantly pushing away thoughts of despair can I continue living. There's absolutely nothing enjoyable about being alive.

'Hope' is such a small thing to live for.


Maya


[1] http://mayaposch.blogspot.com/2011/05/taking-nightmare-notch-further.html

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Losing Sight Of The Point Of Things

I'm pretty sure that the most difficult part of working for any company or organization is that it's hard to feel fully aligned with its goals and purpose of existence. In the end it's in a way a somewhat degrading experience, where management in a sense controls those who applied for a job. Not to say that it's a complete hell or anything. In the end it's the mutual interaction between employees and managers which determines the atmosphere within the company. As far as my current job goes, I think that its management is in some ways still stuck in the past which causes some friction. Fortunately attempts are being made now to revitalize the department so that things will become a lot more efficient. I can't wait to see those being implemented and take part in this process. If only to display my true skills.

In the end I'd like go back to working full-time in my company, Nyanko. It'll still take quite a few months before it'll generate enough revenue to sustain me financially. Right now all of the projects I'm working on alone or with Trevor will still take a few weeks at least to be finished, are finished but not selling well at all, or are in such an early stage of development that it's not worth investing any hope in them. This includes possibly revolutionary projects such as the HLA-AI project of which the initial prototype should result in an artificial intelligence with the language skills of about a 1-3-year old, and subsequent prototypes should exceed human intelligence. There's also the FPGA/ASIC hardware simulator and board simulator Lilium which I'm still working on as well.

With all that I know and am capable of I am pretty sure that I could do pretty much anything, as long as I keep getting offered the challenges needed to keep me motivated. All together I really hope that Trevor and I can soon turn Nyanko into a profitable company, starting with the release of our first game, Baublez, later this month at the earliest on Steam. All I'd like is for us to be given a chance at showing what we both are capable of.


Maya

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dolhuys Exposition: Corruption Exposed

During the past seven and a half years I have had to deal with a lot of strange events which even to someone who isn't paranoid would suggest some kind of conspiracy. With the major discrepancy between the conclusions by Dutch and German physicians, it was beyond obvious that something rather unpleasant and illegal was going on. Yesterday this charade continued when I visited the opening of the exposition 'Ik M/V' ('Me M/F') at the Dutch museum 'Het Dolhuys' in Haarlem.

For those who haven't been following along or forgot, allow me to summarize things. About half a year ago I got contacted by the curator of 'Het Dolhuys' with the question of whether I wanted to have my story featured in this upcoming exposition. I agreed to it, and for the next months I'd be cooperating with the museum on getting them various materials, images, videos and more. The curator ensured me that my entire story would be featured, with relevant excerpts from the media and from my site. I figured it'd be nice exposure for my story. Then, September the 25th the opening of the exposition took place. I was present together with my girlfriend.

Since it was supposed to be an exposition about the blurry lines between male and female it was no surprise to me that the room was filled with transsexuals and transvestites. A bit of a shock was seeing the coordinator of the VUmc gender team there as well: Jos Megens, someone I hadn't seen since early 2007 and who is one of those at that hospital who made my life hell for nearly five years. This already upset me a bit. After about half an hour of speeches by the director of the museum, a transsexual and a transvestite the exposition was opened. My girlfriend and I decided to allow the others to walk through it first instead of diving head-first into the throng.

Looking at a sign next to the entrance to the exposition we could see clearly that the VUmc hospital's gender team was majorly involved in the exposition, with both this Megens guy and the leader of the VUmc gender team, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, listed. The latter is also one of the people I'm suing via my lawyer at the moment. I think I was feeling pretty estranged at that point. Nothing about the experience was really like how I had imagined it.

Crowding into the small exposition room, we managed to walk around and see the exposition. It soon became clear that everything about me in the exposition was on a small table in the center of the room, which was the only section about intersex. Over half the table was taken up by historic material of other intersex people in Dutch history, the rest was the newspaper article about me which appeared in NRC Handelsblad, my old and new passport scans and an old school ID card. The card next to it listed the most basic of summaries about me. The larger card about intersex just said that some people are born with ambiguous genitals and that this is corrected by children. Nothing about the controversy surrounding intersex conditions.

I was feeling pretty nauseous at this point. This small selection of material was all they had bothered to put into the exposition? They had forgotten all about the major controversy surrounding intersex conditions and the countless forced surgeries, of which one or more take place in the Netherlands alone every single day? After making a single round through the room I simply walked out of it and my girlfriend and I made our way outside. After a brief moment I expressed my disappointment to her and we decided to go home again.

The involvement of the VUmc's gender team is something I could have expected, but which I definitely expected the curator, Esther Vossen, to inform me about, since the NRC article I mentioned earlier and much more material on my site and in the media notes that the VUmc has treated me horribly. I also know from experience and from things I have been told by mostly transsexuals who have been patients at the VUmc's gender team that this collection of individuals who call themselves physicians and transsexual/intersex experts shouldn't even have a license to carry out their profession.

It honestly doesn't surprise me that with the VUmc's involvement this exposition turned into some kind of 'happy-fun' thing without any criticism on any practices by physicians, let alone Dutch physicians. In that regard it is positive that the NRC article about my story is part of the exposition as it does detail the horrible incompetence and - dare I say - evil practiced by Dutch physicians against intersex individuals. After having personally witnessed the horrible corruption, evil and intent to exterminate intersex conditions by Dutch physicians, psychologists and politicians first-hand during many years, yesterday's experience was essentially a confirmation that nothing has changed yet and that much more is needed to bring down the big, bad institutions such as the VUmc's gender team, but also essentially anyone in the medical, general healthcare or political world who plays some role in suppressing the human rights of intersex individuals.

I feel now more than ever that it will take a major lawsuit against most Dutch hospitals regarding my treatment by them and international attention/outrage to make some kind of dent into this system of corruption and evil. The upcoming broadcast of TLC's 'TLC About...' with my story being featured in the third episode 'Taboo' should accomplish this to some extent as well, being an international documentary and from what I have seen and heard so far a very serious, in-depth take on what really happened and still has to change. After talking with the producer of the TLC show for a while I have a very good feeling about it.

As an addendum, while writing this blog article I got a response from the museum's curator, Esther Vossen, to the email I sent her yesterday in which I expressed my displeasure at the exposition using about the same points as above. She tried to defend the exposition by saying that there's more material in the exposition by people who promote diversity within gender roles and thus it's not as bad as I make it seem like. She fully dodges the reason why I wasn't told about the VUmc's involvement, or the presence of someone from the same gender team which was involved in making my life hell for so long.

Here's to a very good TLC show. Please let me know the broadcast dates for your region for the third episode 'Taboo' so that I can list them here. Thank you.


Maya

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Financial, Legal And Other Woes

People often use the term 'turned upside-down' when describing big changes in their life. I would prefer the term 'shifted into another dimension' in my own case. Many elements are still familiar in it, and yet most of it has changed completely. Between living together with a girlfriend who is also my very first real relationship, having my first proper job, dealing with so many responsibilities and chasing after lazy companies and the like, it's as though in a few brief weeks everything I knew got wiped out and replaced with something entirely different.

Not to say that it isn't pleasant in some ways, I do like the independence and such, yet it's somewhat scary to not really have much of a backup in case things go south. Instead of the quiet retreat I hoped to find I now find myself rushing instead from place to place to fix and manage things. I haven't called this many companies and other instances in the previous years as I have in the past week.

Among the recent successes there is having my insurance company Unive finally contacting the German clinic where I got my surgery and telling them to send the bill directly so that it can get paid. This after getting two reminders from said clinic. Hopefully that's sorted now. Another success is having the kitchen drain unclogged today after reminding the business (Van der Linde) renting us this place of their responsibilities. It took a call to their HQ and hinting at legal action to make them fix things.

The coming month things are going to exceedingly tight financially again. As the moving cost much more than estimated (nearly twice...) and combined with the rent, my next paycheck will be spent almost completely before the month starts. I'm really grateful that I got a few dozen Euro in donations so far to help bridge this financial gap. I'm not sure how I'll manage next month financially, but I'll see. It still sucks that even with a well-paying job I can get into a tight spot like this. Not having any financial reserves to begin with probably plays a major role.

Next week Tuesday (25th of September) the Dolhuys in Haarlem, the Netherlands, will open the exposition 'Ik, M/V' (http://www.hetdolhuys.nl/tentoonstellingen/ik-mv-het-dolhuys-verkent-de-grenzen-tussen-man-en-vrouw), which will feature audio, video and text-based material about me, among others. The topic is the exploration of everything between male and female. I'll be there during the opening, starting at 5 PM.

Meanwhile legal matters proceed, with the hearing against the VUmc hospital still pending, the hearing against insurance company Unive coming up soon as well, and a hearing involving the vandalism case against me next month. The first two I'm awaiting the hearing dates on, for the latter I'm working with my psychotherapist on to compile a statement showing that the consistent psychological abuse by Dutch hospitals and psychologists, combined with the arrogant attitude and disregard for responsibilities displayed by the family doctor's practice in Rijssen's Medisch Centrum, led to the triggering of my PTSD and DID, both the culmination of severe traumas inflicted upon me. The resulting damage caused by the violent personality fragment which took control was therefore not my fault, but that of the Dutch healthcare in general and this particular family doctor's personnel especially. I'll be blogging about how these cases proceed.

Anyway, it's past midnight again, and tomorrow I have another bug-hunting session at my work. Got to make a good impression for the contract extension at the end of next month :)


Maya

Thursday, 13 September 2012

First Hearing In Case Against VUmc Hospital And More

A number of things are happening these days, the most interesting one being that I heard from my lawyer Yme Drost that the VUmc hospital has finally provided their answer to my list of accusations and that a hearing at which I will be present will be scheduled soon. Related to this, next month I'll also have the hearing in the case against me involving vandalism. This I talked about before: it's essentially directly related to the case against the VUmc and how they and other Dutch hospitals treated me. The years of mental and psychological abuse which culminated in first a suicide attempt, and then me encountering first a Christian family doctor refusing me as a patient for being intersex, and then a family doctor who ignored my background and refused proper treatment. On a happier note, Discovery Channel/TLC is broadcasting the episode of 'TLC About...' featuring me on October 18th here in the Netherlands.

Further I have communicated a bit more with my insurance company, Unive, regarding the outstanding bill with the German clinic for the surgery last year. Today they finally sent me a message informing me that they will be setting things straight with the clinic regarding the payment. Hopefully they'll get it fixed now. Against Unive I already have one legal case in progress regarding their refusal to fully cover the electrolysis therapy I am forced to undergo due to excess hair growth on my face as a result of the elevated testosterone level I had due to being intersex.

I'm feeling somewhat apprehensive regarding the vandalism case. I know I wasn't in a state of mind where I could have consciously interfered and refrained from using any violence, but to actually prove that is going to be hard. Fortunately my psychotherapist is fully on my side on this matter and we're working on a document featuring his statement reinforcing this and hopefully leading to the judge concluding the same. My mother is also going to be a witness during the hearing.

The broadcast of the TLC show's episode is making me feel pretty happy, I guess. It's the first international broadcast of my story, and on a serious channel as well. As said the broadcast of the episode in question (third episode, titled 'Taboo') will be broadcast in the Netherlands on October 18th. I talked with the producer of the show yesterday in person and she was genuinely interested in my story. Only negative point is that I likely won't get permission from Discovery Channel to feature the fragment with me in it on my site. They seem pretty reluctant to give that kind of permission. Interesting point is that it'll be the first time as well that people will get to see my girlfriend as she's featured in the show as well :)

Finally the hearing in the case against the VUmc hospital is a very good thing. The VUmc has managed to delay things by a month by taking much longer to provide an answer to the accusations. Now that the hearing will be scheduled soon I'm feeling quite relieved. As soon as I have a date for the hearing I will be able to focus a bit more on it, but I'm already glad that things are moving forward again.


Maya

Monday, 3 September 2012

Still Looking For That Lightness In Life

Tomorrow is my birthday. A while ago I thought that this birthday would be the first one in a long time when I would be somewhat happy again, and able to celebrate it. Now that it's upon me I can see how many things are still left to be taken care of. As far as I can tell at this point I'll have spent every year from my 21st year up till today, eight years later, on battling the Dutch medical, political and other major systems. Now, at this point, I still have a number of major legal cases to deal with which will easily last me into my early thirties and possibly beyond. It makes me wonder when I'll truly have put behind me this horror inflicted upon me by the Dutch state and its systems for having been born different.

Today I learned more about the legal case against me, the one resulting from a family doctor in Rijssen neglecting their duty when they promised to prepare a reference to a specialist and failed to do so during a week. That was a few months after my suicide attempt and I was desperate to get some medical help after over six years of Dutch physicians failing to provide any help or answers. Yet this last doctor failed to heed my request or my desperate warnings about my pre-existing post-traumatic stress disorder and possible dissociative identity disorder, triggering a black-out and the surfacing of a violent personality fragment. You can find the details of that event here: http://mayaposch.blogspot.com/2011/05/taking-nightmare-notch-further.html

In short, a hearing was scheduled this week, but got cancelled because the persecutor ('OM') failed to properly formulate the case, forgetting the actual charge. This has led to the hearing getting postponed until a later date. I now have to get a letter from my psychotherapist indicating my unstable emotional state and the PTSD and DID conditions I likely had at that time. This in addition to the general stress I was experiencing after six years of getting batted around by Dutch physicians and psychologists. This all is rather frustrating, both because it is taking so long, and because I may end up with a conviction despite being the clear victim in this case. I'll therefore not accept any kind of ruling which will leave me with a criminal record.

To be clear, I do accept that I destroyed those glass items. I do accept that it was this body which did it. I do however not accept that it was a rational, conscious decision in any shape or form, and was brought on by the actions of the family doctor at the medical center in Rijssen. It was the culmination of six years of severe mental and psychological abuse by physicians. To me it was a continuous nightmare, and that event a part of the same nightmare. It's not a sole occurrence, but the inevitable conclusion of the abuse I suffered.

Moving on, things in general are slowly improving, though it's always hard to start with a first place of your own. So many things to buy and so many things to organize. There's also the inevitable lack of maintenance at a rental place, meaning lots of phone calls before things get fixed. It's unneeded and annoying, but ah well.

Another major negative point at this stage involves both my girlfriend and myself. Her family in short is the type you'd rather wish to avoid, with unpleasant connections in the shady parts of society and a generally twisted sense of 'family'. Due to this she has decided to break with them, which wasn't easy. Yet even after moving away from that place where they live, they continue to bother her, by calling and messaging her. This is more than just unpleasant for both her and me. This will probably mean that more legal matters will be started soon. At this rather we may as well start our own law office :)


Maya

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Looking For Furniture And Other Boring Tidbits

The apartment has been filled up pretty well this week. Right now we're looking at acquiring book shelves, a good desk and furniture for the bedroom beyond a bed. If anyone reads this, has some spare furniture lying around and knows of a good way to get it to the apartment here in Almere, don't mind contacting me about it :) After spending heaps of money on carpet, appliances and heavens know what else, we'd love to keep expenses low. This means more second hand items and the like.

With current items taken care of, I'd like to briefly summarize the moving itself. It all started on Tuesday the 21st when after my work I went to the apartment where we spent the night on a bare concrete floor with no internet and no appliances. Just a toilet and water. The next morning we got temporary (data capped) mobile internet via the provider XS4All, had the carpet man drop by to put in the carpet and took delivery of a washing machine and freezer/fridge combination.

On Thursday the 23rd the moving itself took place, with my mom taking care of matters at my old residence (her home) and my girlfriend and I handling things at her place. Loading things at my place went smoothly, at my girlfriend's place there were some issues, but in the end it all worked out. We ended that day in our apartment, surrounded by piles of boxes and furniture. After setting up the bed and putting the TV and couch into an agreeable position we left things until the next day, heading to city hall to register our new place of residence and handling changing our voting passes for the upcoming election to our new county.

This weekend we mostly spent setting up the apartment, unpacking boxes and setting up the new office from which I'm typing this blog post now. The apartment is in many ways very spacious and I haven't had this much space for an office, especially one for two people, at any time before. Only downer was having to buy new bolts and screws to put my desk together again. Also there's the issue of my girlfriend not having anything resembling a decent desk. I have an Ikea Jerker desk myself (160x80 cm version), and it'd be nice to have a matching desk.

At my job things are going well too. At this point I'm feeling the system analyst inside of me kicking in and I'm currently in the process of writing PHP-based scripts to automate a number of tasks which bottleneck the development process. My hope is that this will make things go even smoother and easier for everyone involved. I think that it'd be the role best suited for me, with a high amount of independence and a sense of responsibility and approval from my colleagues and higher-ups. Not just being a mindless drone doing repetitive work :)

Still a lot of work to do and expenses to be made, including the buying or leasing of my first car. It's tiresome but in many ways kinda fun. I'm still annoyed at the internet part, though. Supposedly 100/100 Mbit fiber will become available in a few weeks, or so XS4All said, but for all I know I'll be stuck on glacial 4 Mb/512 kb ADSL for the next year.


Maya

Friday, 17 August 2012

Moving Soon And Leaving The Internet

In my last blog post I asked for help with moving me and my girlfriend to our new place in Almere. The number of responses to it wasn't high enough to make it possible, thus we decided to enlist a moving company. Turns out that they'll do it for about the same price as we could have done with volunteers and rented vans. And this way we're insured as well. Moving day will be the 23rd, with the carpet being put in on the 22nd.

One outstanding issue is that of internet. At this point I have been unable to arrange internet. Fiber isn't available in this particular apartment because it hasn't been put in yet despite being in the coverage area, meaning that we'll have to harass an ISP to look into having it pulled. As for ADSL, apparently we're just enough out of range to make higher speeds possible. This means that we'll be on an 8/1 Mbit connection at best. Hopefully they can pull fiber soon so that we can get that 100/100 connection. Slight difference and for about the same bloody price.

It's interesting in how far internet has become a part of our lives. I have taken to working on my laptop in the train while I travel to my work these days since they have WiFi in the Dutch intercity trains. This blog post I'm typing and posting from my place in the train for example. The thought of being in our new apartment without any form of internet connection beyond that on our phones is frightening. We'd not be able to communicate with most of our friends and acquaintances, I'd not be able to work and chat with Trevor while we finish up the current game project. And so on. I'll have to call this one ISP, XS4All, tomorrow when I'm not working to hopefully get things arranged for next week. It's going to be a squeeze.

At my job I'm adjusting quite well, I think. We just started on the migration of the Typo3 CMS we use for the websites from version 4.4 (old) to current (4.7.4). It's quite an undertaking, especially with all of the extensions installed for each site. There's also the usual issues with the development server's copy of the site being horribly broken, making it hard to ascertain whether or not something broke due to an extension or other update, or that it was broken before already. It's heaps of fun, albeit stressful. So far my colleagues are really pretty cool, though I have to hold myself back a bit from taking direct charge. I'm just the newbie at this point after all :P

It's fun to see all of my experience I have built up since the 1990s with regards to web development coming to use here, though. I have also provided support to others at the VARA with another CMS they use: Wordpress. Being a support person like this, as a kind of second line support person, really isn't bad at all. People come to you when they have issues which aren't easy to solve and they are grateful when you figure it out for them. Plus you get to meet more people this way inside the organization.

This all not to say that I am not looking forward to getting the moving over with. Traveling four hours a day by train like this is just too crazy. Of a 24 hour day you lose 8 hours due to sleep, leaving 16 hours of which you spend 8 hours on your work, leaving 8 hours of which I am spending 4 traveling. Take off time to eat, drink and such and I'll maybe have 2 hours left to do my relaxation and other stuff in. That's not much, and I can't wait for me to get back two and a half hours of those four hours of traveling after moving.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly now. There's still enough to arrange after moving as well, including a new beauty salon since the one in Deventer is really too far away at that point. Any tips on a good beauty salon in or near Almere where they do electrolysis therapy ('electrisch ontharen') are more than welcome :)


Maya

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Please Help Me Move To My New Place~

The 15th of this month my girlfriend and I will be receiving the key to our new apartment, with the new carpet being put in on the 22nd. The goal is to move in on the same day, if possible at all. Sadly both my brothers aren't available until next month, so I'm going to have to find others who can assist me with moving. Possibly I'll have to pay for a moving company to take care of it and just accept the extra costs. My girlfriend faces a similar issue, leaving us in the odd situation where we have a new place to move into, but no easy way to actually move our belongings into it. Any help, physical or financial with this would be beyond awesome. Getting past this last hurdle to a happier future has to be worth it, right? :)

In other news, yesterday my girlfriend and I went to the photoshoot for the Grazia magazine, to have pictures of me taken for the 5-year anniversary edition of this magazine. In a few ways it was interesting, in that nobody there really knew about my story, just that they had received instructions to take pictures of me and the other four women in a particular manner. They were very intrigued to hear my story, however. The photos themselves which got taken of me that day were interesting too, in that this photographer and the stylist managed to bring out a whole other side of me, at least it appeared that way to me.

The day before, on Thursday, I picked up my new passport at the county hall. The lady behind the counter actually recognized me from an earlier article in a newspaper and offered to give me back the old passport as a token of remembrance after rendering it invalid. I thought this was rather nice of her. Now I can finally end the quest to get my proper identity recognized and use this acknowledgement to further the legal case against my insurance company who still refuse to fully cover the electrolysis therapy for the excess hair growth on my face due to the weird hormone balance I used to have. Their argument is that there's no reason to cover this therapy in the case of intersex, but do not substantiate this in any fashion. I'll soon have a hearing about this matter and will have a chance to speak my mind there.

Similarly I will have a hearing in the legal case against the VUMC hospital as well within a few months. This is going to become an even bigger case, involving the brutal violation of my basic human rights, particularly the right to decide about own body, and having unneeded surgeries forced upon me. I still really hope that this matter will cause a landslide in Dutch and European politics and from there change the world. It is beyond ridiculous that today in 2012 people like me are essentially outcasts, regarded by politicians and medical professionals as a kind of lab animals they can freely experiment on. No, scratch that, even lab animals have more rights than we do. It's so very disheartening to have to still fight for the right to even exist.

Being able to move to Almere this month will really change matters for me. At the moment the traveling to and from my work from my mother's place at two hours traveling time each way is really taking its toll on me, not to mention making it so much harder to do all the media items regarding my story and legal cases as everything takes place in the Amsterdam area. Without any offers from help I'll just have to bite the bullet and pay up for a moving company to take care of this. Same for my girlfriend, who has her own story to tell some other day.


Maya

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Everything Going Right And Still...

From the looks of it I'll be moving into my new apartment in Almere this month the 22nd. Or our apartment I should say, as I'll be moving in with my girlfriend. I'll be living much closer to my job at the VARA in Hilversum that way. So far the job there after two days of working there has proven to be pretty relaxing and yet challenging. I'm still being worked in and getting up to date on things, but I notice that I do not mind going there and find myself appreciating finding that job. On Thursday my girlfriend and I also went to Amsterdam for the television recordings for Discovery Channel/TLC's new show 'TLC About...' which will be broadcast in October/November. It went well, and through it I noticed yet again how natural it's all becoming, both for me and for my girlfriend who got sucked into my whole media thing and seems to be taking it well so far :)

I'll still need to find people who can help me move on that day, and who can help my girlfriend move as well. Volunteers are more than welcome. Hopefully it'll all work out well and the moving will be smoothly and painless. I'm looking forward to living in Almere again, now as a much improved person. From there I hope to finally start truly working on my future, together with my girlfriend. It's still somewhat surreal to be thinking in those terms. Having a well-paying job, a beautiful girlfriend who loves me dearly, and a large apartment all to ourselves. It still feels a bit like I do not deserve it.

One thing I do find quite interesting about my workplace is that my colleagues and other people who work there at the VARA or at the NTR or VPRO in the same building do not seem to recognize me from my media appearances. In many ways that's quite pleasant, as for the first time in my life I get to experience what it's like to have a normal life, and to not have my body's physical features play any role in my interactions with others. I will not be telling anyone about it either unless they find out by themselves. Only my boss knows it, because I felt during the job interviews already that I had to be frank on this issue. I still feel I made the right decision there.

With a new place also come many great expenses. First of all the new carpet, then a new washing machine, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, and so on. We also do not have any kind of furniture to put our clothes into, or any bookshelves. They aren't requirements of course, and it's all a matter of just getting what we need first, slowly working down the list of items to get as need demands and money allows. At least I did end up with some of the basic furniture items like desks, chairs and a couch, the latter thanks to my awesome mother :)

My general feeling in all of this is one of a strong sense of relief, but also trepidation and apprehension. I'd rather prefer not to involve my emotions in all of this just yet. It all just feels too surreal and too good to be true. Part of me is certain that it's only a matter of time before everything pops like a soap bubble, all of the shiny colours and happy reflections reduced to a few wet spots, quickly drying in the sun's rays. Another part hopes fervently that the first part is wrong. The future truly is a scary place...


Maya

Sunday, 29 July 2012

On The Topic Of Being Something And Not Being Something

Earlier I was just reading around a bit on some websites when my eye fell on a scheduled event involving someone involved with LGBTI topics, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex. Seeing that 'I' there and realizing what it stood for almost immediately made me feel uncomfortable as I realized that it applied to me, and why we even differentiate between those things. I so want to not be intersex or anything else which implies being a wrong existence by the definition of a large part of the world population. Merely existing implies that I have to suffer because others want me to. My own country wants to force major surgery on me, withhold proper medical diagnosis and treatment and trample over my basic human rights. The Dutch constitution's first article says that Dutch citizens are protected from discrimination based upon any criteria, including race, gender, etc. My own government has repeatedly decided since the 1950s that those who are not heterosexual and not strictly male or female are undesirable entities.

I do not want to be something controversial. I do not wish to be something others hate. I do not want to be an existence despised by my country's own doctors, psychologists and politicians. And yet it is inevitable unless I kill myself right here and now, terminating the controversy.

Being something or not being something makes such a huge difference, even though in the end we are all just human beings. I like to forget that I am intersex. I like to just think of myself as a human being. Not as a woman, man, intersex person, or something else. Just a human being with a thirst for knowledge and social contacts. And yet it gets thrown at me. I get beaten around with it. It haunts me. It's everywhere. Yes, I do participate with media interviews in which I tell my story, but in the end that's just so that I can get rid of it all. So that I can just be a human being.

I yearn more than ever for the legal cases against the Dutch hospitals to proceed. First the case against the VUMC via the medical disciplinary committee and then the personal injuries case against four or five Dutch hospitals. I want the national and foreign media to report on it constantly, and for the Netherlands to be unmasked as a hateful, persecuting country, no better than the National Social German Workers' Party [1] of the 1920s which sought to eradicate unwanted elements from society. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In this case it involves the eradication of anyone born with ambiguous genitals as the Dutch government and medical system denies that such individuals have the right to exist in their original form, and have no say about whether or not they receive surgery to 'correct' this.

When I put my recent positive events in acquiring a proper job and now nearly getting my own place to live in next to the above horrors it makes for a very peculiar contrast. I'm not sure how to look at it myself. On one hand I'll be considered very successful, having survived the past years without running up any debts while getting a well-paying job at a well-respected employer. On the other hand I feel too much alike those survivors rescued from Auschwitz [2] by Soviet troops in January 1945. Hollow-eyed, skin folded loosely around a starved, bony frame, with incomprehensible horrors imprinted on their mind's eye. It's like being in the midst of a black tornado of pure Chaos. You can't see anything but shapes while you get tossed about and hit by random objects against which you have no defense. There's no peace to be found. And that tornado will always be there inside you, turning day into night, joy into horror, pleasure into pain.

On Thursday I'm doing TV recordings for a Discovery/TLC documentary of four parts titled 'TLC Over...' or 'TLC About...' in English. I'll be featured together with my girlfriend in the fourth part which will probably be broadcast by the end of October. The topic of that fourth part is about taboos in sexuality, relationships and the like. If back in 2005 the VUMC's gender team had treated me normally and offered me reasonable options after properly diagnosing my hermaphroditism I would not have participated with this documentary. I'd probably not have been asked. I would not have had my personal website like I have it now, or this blog and its many hefty posts. Yet it all did happen and it is all there, and now there is no way to not tell my story and to not let others help me deal with this Chaos inside of me.

Anything to survive.


Maya


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

Friday, 20 July 2012

Even When Things Go Right Exhaustion Still Takes Its Toll

After over two months of job searching and spending hundreds of Euros on traveling around the Netherlands for job interviews I finally managed to land myself a job. Earlier today I went to my new workplace to sign the contract and meet up with some of my new colleagues. This does begin a very stressful period for me, though. Not due to the work, but because the job is at at the Media Park in Hilversum, which is currently a 2-hour train journey from where I currently live. Moving is essential.

As I'll be starting on August 1st this gives me just over a week to find a place to rent, make sure it's fine, sign the paperwork and move there. As city to live in I have picked Almere, as it's quite ideally situated relative to Hilversum where the job is and it should be easy to find something to rent there. Furthermore I know this city well and have always liked it most of all Dutch cities. Despite my previous, lesser experiences in Almere I'm still looking forward to moving back there. I'm not looking forward to arranging the whole place and moving thing, though. Any help there would be very welcome.

On top of this I also have a photoshoot in Amsterdam for Grazia magazine due to an earlier interview I did for a new article in late July, and on August 2nd I'm doing TV recordings for a Discovery/TLC documentary, also in Amsterdam. This all makes it a hectic period, and having a smooth transition from where I currently live to Almere would be extremely welcome.

Tomorrow I'll start harassing the first real estate agents about some houses I have picked. If that works out I hope to visit a few locations and sign the lease contract the same day, get the key and plan the move for which I could use some helping hands. My brothers are likely to assist, but more hands make things easier :) First to get that place to move to, of course.

I can't wait to give that housewarming party. Even if the house will be pretty much empty with how little furniture I have. Maybe I should suggest that people can take left-over furniture with them if I can use it ;)

Anyway, my mood on this whole 'finding a home' thing hovers between careful hope and abject terror. I hope that it and the financial side of everything works out. I have nearly run out of money at this point and won't be very rich until my first paycheck comes in. At that point things should be fine, though... Being somewhat hopeful here. Most of all I just want to just curl up somewhere and cry myself to sleep. I'm so incredibly tired of everything and having to be strong and ready. Even if things are heading in the right direction for the first time in my life.


Maya

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Looking For Intersex People; How Hiding Hurts The Cause

Yesterday a journalist from the largest Norwegian newspaper (VG) contacted me, with the question of whether I knew of any intersex individuals in Norway who might be interested in participating in interviews for a feature article on intersex people in that country. I sadly had to tell her that I do not know any such individuals, but that I will be asking around. Yet even posting a request on this to over 17,000 people on my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts as well as the Facebook WISH group didn't seem to get me any results.

There are tens to hundreds of thousands of people in Norway who would qualify as 'intersex'. How is it possible that a journalist can not find any to interview? What's wrong about her then contacting me, a Dutch citizen, to ask for help? It seems pretty clear: despite there being so many intersex individuals and them not having many of the human rights others take for granted, they seem content with not sticking out their head. It's eerily reminiscent of how homosexual individuals 'didn't exist', until they finally grew a spine in the 1960s. No offense intended.

I know it's not easy to stand up and speak out when you represent a horrible social taboo. Whether it shatters the societal illusion that only heterosexuality is normal and anything else is a mental disease, or that the male/female binary is an absolute lie, kept going only through the mutilation of innocent infants to hide the truth, one can expect a backlash from those incapable of dealing with the truth. Yet the more stand up and speak their mind, the easier it gets for all of us. So please.

If you are in Norway and are intersex, or you happen to know someone who is Norwegian and is intersex, please let me know and I can bring you or that person into contact with the VG journalist.

Thank you!


Maya

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sometimes Everything Is Black Or White

As I write this on this Sunday morning I feel mostly anxiety and apprehension. Last Friday I did the third and final interview for a job with a Dutch company. It's the furthest I have come so far. I could have heard back on it Friday already, but that day passed without a call from the recruiter. Now it'll probably be tomorrow that I'll hear back on it. After three rounds and passing two of them I should feel reasonably assured that things will probably be fine, but the lack of certainty about what is going to happen is very much there.

I can see many branching paths starting tomorrow. One is that I do get this job and end up working in Amsterdam. It'd be ideal in terms of ease of relocating, the legal and media things I have still to do in the Netherlands. If I do not get this job... well, I'm also applying for jobs in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Ireland. It'd probably mean that I'll be leaving the Netherlands and only occasionally visit it. It would be a much bigger, more uncertain change, even if I do intend to leave the Netherlands in the not too distant future.

Among all of this one thing is certain: getting a job and income this month would be an awesome thing. It'd give me so much peace and stability. It'd be unlike anything I have experienced in a long while. The alternative, of not getting a job for another month at least... let's just say that I already feel like a big enough loser. I often wish I had not made that choice seven and a half years ago to not go along with the hospitals. I could have been much happier. In a sense.

True, I'd still be registered as male, and have my old name. I'd also not have my hormone levels adjusted to a healthy level. I'd also not know anything about how my body is put together. I'd not have these legal cases against the Dutch hospitals which could spell the beginning of the end for the routine human rights violations against intersex individuals by physicians worldwide. Yet I could have had an education, a job, my own place... all the peace which one could find in personal success.

Looking back I didn't know that I would be making such an impossible choice: personal, fleeting happiness or sacrificing myself for a good cause.

Those involved in ending the reign of apartheid in 1960s USA didn't enjoy the ridicule and beatings or assassinations it involved. Nelson Mandela didn't enjoy being locked up for decades on Robbeneiland for protesting against the apartheid in South Africa. Gandhi and his followers didn't enjoy the abuse they suffered at the hands of the British to end the occupation of India. They all had but one thing in mind: to end an injustice for all, even at the cost of their own happiness and lives. In the end it's the only thing one can do.

Not that it's easy. Or makes you particularly happy even if you do survive it. The scars will not fade.

All I am hoping for now is that I can get a bit of both, having fought and won many battles already. Some personal happiness by just having a job and a taste of what a 'normal' existence would have been like. Not having to worry about going bankrupt, having my own place and stability. I'd have gambled, sacrificed, and come out the better for it.

It'd be like having a piece of heaven firmly embedded into my skull. And that's a good thing.


Maya

Saturday, 9 June 2012

When Things Blow Up And People Get Maimed

The previous time I said that the next time I'd put a blog post online things would have changed majorly, either in a positive or in a negative fashion. Enough happened since that time to warrant a new post. Things still haven't come to an end, but at this point it feels like I'm in an airplane which is on fire, losing bits and heading towards a mountain.

Last Tuesday after the job interview in The Hague at I-Optics things kinda turned south already when my computer suddenly blue-screened after I got home and refused to boot until I coaxed it back into working condition after a few hours of troubleshooting. Then yesterday morning one of my displays died, refusing to come out of standby, forcing me to spend a sizable chunk of money on a new display. Which won't arrive until next Tuesday due to the delivery times around the weekend. Not having dual monitors is enough of a work efficiency impediment that I pulled my old 17" CRT monitor out of storage and put it back into use. See the setup I got going on now:


Things kind of went hurtling ground-wards yesterday (Friday) when I got a phone call from I-Optics regarding my application there. In mildly covered terms they essentially told me that they acknowledged that I have the programming skills, but questioned my personality, strongly implying that I am unreliable and that I portray myself in a grandiose manner to the point where I am basically lying about the things I have done. They never bothered to contact any of the references I provided, which leads me to believe that my background story played a major role in my rejection there.

Being rejected in such a way has really set off my PTSD to the point where I am only barely able to stay stable and find myself regularly thinking in a quite rational manner about ending my existence. Not having the prospect of financial income, not even having welfare to fall back upon, and countless more job interviews to face with the resulting rejections adds to this. With myself in such an unstable mood I have had to push away my girlfriend as well, for her own sake. I'm lashing out at anyone who comes close to me and barely recognize myself any more. The only thing which is going to save me here is hard work on some products to make money with while I hope for that miracle where I do get hired by a company. Monday is the next interview. I'm terrified. I need to push away all emotions to go on.

The thought that I'll not get out of this situation I am in fills me with utter dread and absolute despair. Convincing myself that things will turn out fine becomes harder and harder. For about one and a half year now I go to bed and wake up to observe this spectacle:


My life, all boxed up. My desk, disassembled. A painful reminder that my life isn't going anywhere fast. Its sight is almost enough to push me over the edge.

Getting a job would change that in one fell swoop, going from empty to full within a month. It's either everything or nothing. Life or death. I lack the energy to invest in another job application. Every time I apply somewhere I know it'll only make me feel worse.

Inhumane treatments like at I-Optics are most effective in convincing me that there's only death. To me it basically concludes over a year of job searching and rejection after rejection. Whether it's fighting against injustice at hospitals, or fighting to get a job, either way you end up facing bigotry, aggression, insults and plain injustice. I survived the first, I can not handle a second war.

I just want to end this. Any which way. Without help from others I will have to take matters into my own hands. Please? I just want to not have to be strong every single moment... It hurts so much :(


Maya

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Moment When Things Either Work Or Explode Violently

The next time I'll write on this blog after this post things will likely have changed in a major way again. The first major item is that I have been looking for a job since last month and did the first proper interview last Tuesday. The positions I seem to be gravitating towards are in R&D, such as (embedded) software engineer. I hope to get a bit of luck this month and land a job. That'd majorly change my life, mostly in terms of finances, independence, and improving my mood at least a million-fold. I'm pretty sick of being poor and feeling worthless due to it.

Other things which are happening involve an exposition on me at the Dolhuys museum in Haarlem in September this year, plus the phone call I received from a Dutch production company who are making a documentary for Discovery Channel/TLC and would like to use my story for it. Shooting will take place during June, July and August. It would both be my international debut and really show the world how exactly the supposedly tolerant Netherlands discriminates against intersex people and forces a gender on them.

At this stage it really feels like my happiness short- and long-term depends on getting a job. Since I won't get any kind of reasonable income from my company within the next few months, the only other option I have there is to beg the government for welfare money again. I'm pretty sick of having to do so, though. First of all it's a small amount, not enough to rent my own place, secondly it's humiliating and really bad for my already low sense of self-esteem.

All I'm asking for at this point is a chance to prove myself at a job, get a proper income and my own place. I'd finally be able to feel somewhat like an adult. I'd also be able to shake off this feeling my environment has impressed on me that I'm a useless piece of flesh, with worthless goals, with delusions and a twisted sense of reality.

I'd like to try feeling sane and well-adjusted some time. I bet it would be fun.


Maya

Saturday, 19 May 2012

I Am Still Unable To Get Medical Help

With everything that has transpired recently it seems easy to overlook the points where my situation hasn't improved much or at all. Beyond my financial and living situation there's one major issue I wanted to have address back in 2005 already and which still hasn't been addressed. It was part of my original set of questions: do I have a vagina, and if so, can it be made usable? The first part of the question was answered with a 'yes' and the second part is still a definite 'maybe'. It's agonizing me that I can not get help with answering that question.

How long will it take before that second part of the question gets answered? When I'm 30? 35? 40? Never? No specialist capable of answering that question has looked at my case yet. The German surgeon who did the exploratory surgery wasn't a reconstructive surgery or otherwise versed in such knowledge. I am not aware of any specialist who can help me at this point. Most definitely there isn't one in the Netherlands. So yes, I can call myself female, and I have a vagina, but I'll never be able to actually use it. That's just bitter.

I had hoped that I could get medical help as a result of the media attention, but the Dutch media has issues grasping the situation, preferring to focus on the bit of happy news and leaving it at that, and as a result the foreign media isn't picking up on it at all. It was my hope that the foreign media would provide salvation, but the earliest that may happen is by the end of this year. If I'm lucky and the lawsuit against the first Dutch hospital (VUMC) goes well, that is.

When it comes to medical help there's exceedingly little I can get here in the Netherlands at all. I do not have a family doctor at this point and have only had negative experiences with family doctors in the past. They seem to be consistently incapable of diagnosing even basic things and rarely take me serious in any fashion. Combined with the above issue I distinctly feel that my existence is still as ridiculed and irrelevant as it was before. In the end nothing bloody changed...

I am currently trying to raise more attention for the intersex cause and with it my own situation via another project, namely the World Intersex Society for Humanity (WISH). At the moment I'm collection stories from other intersex individuals so as to provide a single, coherent voice to the impossible situation society has forced us into. You can see the overview and submission rules here: www.mayaposch.com/wish.php?p=stories.

Another project I have high hopes for is a more scientific one, called the High-Level Algorithm Artificial Intelligence (HLA-AI), a new approach to mapping and reimplementing a human-level intelligence on a computer system. So far I have mapped mostly sections of the visual and auditory cortex including their memory cores and the interactions with the so-called linguistic center. The current prototypes revolve around natural language processing/understanding and synthesis. My hope that this project will give my career a major boost. It is also a major self-esteem thing as I have been working on AI projects in some form since the late 90s ever since I caught the AI bug. I'll be blogging about this soon on my Jinzou Ningen/Artificial Human blog.

So yeah... I'll see what happens, I guess.

*sighs*


Maya

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Working, Searching For A Job And Exhaustion

It's been nearly two weeks since I last wrote anything on my blog. The main reason for this is that I have been and still am exceedingly busy. Busy with lots of things. Most recently trying to find a job as I need income, and fast. But also with trying to finish some more games to sell, as I need income, and fast. Also busy with making this new relationship I have found myself in work. And realizing how desperately I need to move on with things. I need that income, my own place. My own life.

There's also the whole media thing. I'm a whistle-blower for the horrors inflicted upon intersex individuals by Dutch physicians. I'm the first legally recognized hermaphrodite in Europe. The media in the Netherlands is still having a hard time coming to terms with this whole situation. I can not blame them. It took me seven years to fully grasp what was going on. Last Friday an article on me, my struggles and me suing the VUMC hospital's gender team for starters appeared in prestigious Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. This resulted in two Dutch TV stations, EO and VARA, contacting me for a possible appearance on their respective news and talk shows. I had expected them to give me a date today for an interview, but either they do not wish to cover the story, or it's taking them longer to decide due to the massive nature of it.

In all of this and with my huge background story it doesn't feel like I ever truly had time to... be myself. As a child I didn't know what was going on. There was only the pressure to move ahead with my life, go through primary and high school. College. All those things 'normal' people do. I left a large part of myself behind back there in the 1980s. A scared little child lost in the dark forest with big, hungry wolves roaming around.

Now it's an income I need. Money. The good thing is that if I do manage to land a job I feel comfortable in, I should have my own place. Financial security. Social contacts. No more being a burden on my mother and vice versa. All the room I should need to hopefully find that aspect of myself again of which I can not even remember any more what it looks or feels like.

In all of this my body also makes it well-known that it can not take much more. From the bags underneath my eyes, constant headaches and stomach pains to the locked up and painful muscles, general sensation of exhaustion, constant canker sores inside my mouth and feeling so cold that I'm freezing to death.

Winning a battle or two doesn't mean you have won the war. It merely means that you haven't lost all the battles. Not that you have won or will ever win the war. Even for relative values of 'winning'.


Maya

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Formal Complaint Filed Against VUMC Hospital; Liberation Of Our Bodies Commences

Yesterday my lawyer, Yme Drost, and I worked on finalizing the formal complaint against the VUMC hospital's gender team for their failure to properly diagnose my intersex condition, insistence on having me conform to either a male or female role, refusal to listen to or answer my questions and concerns and their violating as a result of this of my fundamental human rights including the right to decide about my own body, the right to determine my own identity and the right to be not discriminated against for any reason.

Yesterday (May 4th) we commemorated the deaths of the Second World War here in the Netherlands ('Dodenherdenking'). Today, May 5th, we celebrate the end of the German occupation of the Netherlands, on May 5th, 1945. This last date ended a period of about five years during which the Nazi occupants set the rules and took whatever they wanted, stripping the country bare.

It is somehow very befitting that the complaint against the VUMC gets filed around this date. Without trying to evoke Godwin's Law, a number of apt comparisons can be made. The Dutch medical system in a sense also occupied my body and that of those like me, determining what I could and could not do. I was denied the right to self-determination and any complaints I had about my treatment were ignored. I too had to start a kind of underground movement by choosing to self-medicate, self-inform and choose anything but formal routes to finally achieve victory, loosening the choke hold the Dutch medical system had on my life.

Similarly, I now have to rebuild after the long war. Meanwhile the war rages on in other territories, for other people's bodies, whether already born or not yet. This is the war for self-determination about our bodies, the call for the end of the occupation in which millions are forced to adhere to the inhuman rules of the so-called medical profession. While the happiness of us intersex people is claimed to be their goal, the used methods are beyond barbaric and give us a similar amount of choice as the victims of medical experiments by Nazi physicians were given.

Sixty-seven years after the liberation of the Netherlands, ten years after the Dutch government finally admitted to homosexuals also having been a target of Nazi exterminations, now on the verge of finally liberating our bodies. With so many victims of this war which took on serious shape in the 1960s, it is time that it finally ends.

Regardless of who or what you are, you and you alone decide about your identity, your body and how you present yourself. This is the ultimate freedom which supposedly was taken care of by international treaties like the United Nations' declaration of human rights, the European declaration of human rights and national declarations embodied in laws, such as article 1 of the Dutch fundamental laws upon which the country was founded.

No one, whether a politician, physician, psychologist or anyone else, has the right to decide about another person's identity whether mentally or physically. No one had the right to decide what kind of surgery I should get, or what kind of psychological therapy. No one had the right to judge me and ignore my questions as a result. Not the Dutch hospitals, not the Dutch politicians I contacted, not the Dutch Minister of Health. No one.

My mission is still to win this war. Now that I have won the last series of battles, claimed the right to independence and pushed the enemy forces back there's no time to rest, no time to question my motives. This struggle by any definition can be called a war for justice, for freedom and for an end to the horrors inflicted upon countless individuals in the name of righteousness.

I know that there are many more like-minded people in this war and I hope that they too will be joining me. There is no room for negotiating, no room for understanding. The old regime is beyond salvation, beyond redemption. The only solution here is to replace the old with the new.

While I'm not advocating public lynchings of Dutch politicians, physicians and the like, I do think that those responsible for the horrors inflicted upon us intersex individuals and others can not be trusted to ever perform a role in which they decide about other people's bodies. They should be sacked, judged in a court of law and sentenced according to UN and other relevant laws and regulations.

The line must be drawn here.


Maya

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dream Sequence

This was the first significant dream sequence for me in a long time. I had no troubles at all remembering it and it left a pretty significant impression on me upon waking.

I was sitting on the left side of the backseat of a car. I vaguely remembered something involving an airplane hijacking. We were driving on a road next to what could have been part of an airport. The driver, who was our hijacker and hostage taker, must have mentioned something about having to get out here. Upon bringing the car to a halt I looked to my left to the car door and found the handle. I pulled on it and the door opened. I noticed that the other hostages in the car didn't seem to be moving at all.

I left the car and walked along the left side towards the back where I saw a gap in the road's guide rails. Leaving the road via that gap I was walking freely. Then I noticed the hostage taker walking to my right. He had a Western look to him. As I looked at him I saw that he pulled out something from inside his coat. I didn't know what it was until he did something with it and the car behind us to our left detonated. I don't think that the other hostages made it out.

As I looked at the hostage taker again I saw him pull out something from inside his coat and knew it was going to be a firearm. I was proven right. I turned away from him and ran for it. I tried to stick to cover, while every moment I expected a bullet to make its way between my shoulder blades. I began to see more and more men around me, all armed. They swarmed around me and I thought I was done for. It had to be a trap.

A flashback: I was sitting on the ground, a man in trench coat with yellow-brown colour was standing in front of us. He was shooting people behind me and to my right. He wore a frozen, mad grin. I then looked into the pistol's barrel and died.

The me of the first sequence walked into this scene and noted to my relief that apparently I hadn't been shot, but that the people swarming around me had been the rescuers. I must have been panicked to mistake them.

New sequence. I was sitting on a couch next to my former housemate. He wasn't looking at me. I was feeling very small and somewhat afraid. There were other people in the room. They were talking about something.

Flashes of other sequences. A child of 4-5 years who knew everything and was good at leg massages. My legs were quite hairy for some reason.

Final sequence. I was sorting the coins in my purse. I looked up and saw my older brother and his wife kissing each other deeply. It shocked me. I stacked up some boxes with more force than needed and nearly ran off. I felt horrible and a need to somehow get rid of this feeling inside.


Maya