In the old days, yeah, the old days…. I used to be really quiet. I was an onlooker and only came into action if it was unavoidable. Very restrained, almost calculating.

People admired this calmness. It awed them. On the rare occasions when I did act, when I did get angry, you really knew you had overstepped the line. It was seen as one of my qualities and in due time, if anybody asked me about it, I made up a story.
Introspectively, things were slightly different. From a very early age on, I had taught myself not to stand out.. At first not even because of Gender Dysphoria, I think. Of course, I could make up that connection but I’d be lying to you and I still don’t like that. No, it was as a psychologist at Yulius in Dordrecht told me in 2009: you were an extremely intelligent child and other children don’t really appreciate that. It teaches you to fade into the background, not to stand out, to survive.

Instead of a cool calm, and only act if necessary, it was a fear to stand out, until ignoring wasn’t an option any more. Oh well, it’s not that I want to make every positive aspect from my past into something negative, but this was really not good.

Could that be why I never noticed the transition to the survival mode that came with Gender Dysphoria? That I was so clever at hiding within that I hid the real me for myself as well? I guess I’ll never find out.

Now I hear people calling in my mind: well, it wasn’t all that bad and you were pretty funny and good company. Right, but only in groups of people I trusted. And more so after a drink. Both factors let you take your defenses down a bit. Finally causing them to notice my Gender Dysphoria as well, when I was about 27.

In hindsight it was pretty disabling. When studying at Delft University of Technology I was not the brainiest kid in class anymore, so no longer needed to hide my intelligence. But the Gender Dysphoria was prominent within, so the “cool calm” stayed. Even when my supervisor treated me as dirt and I never graduated after six years of uni. I behaved like a scared rabbit and can hardly blame people for taking advantage. That would never happen to me now, although I have to admit that I am twice the age now. And 10 years older than my supervisor was then, instead of ten years his junior.

That said, if I had been a confident young woman then, I would not have let all this happen. Also, in all honesty, I would never have chosen Delft, but I would have followed my heart. And studied psychology.
Probably ending up working in a gender team somewhere.

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