Check out my new blog about managing digital content

I started this blog 5 years ago mainly because it was an important tool to spread information about my own lifesituation to co-workers, friends and family. However, as many of you have noticed I also have a passion for technology in general and enterprise content management in particular. I have decided to split my blogs into two different ones. One where I continue to share experience from my daily life and another one where I discuss all things digital content. So if you feel you are more interested in technology, search, EMC Documentum and collaboration you should change links on your own pages to my new blog.

You will find it at: http://contentperspective.se

Those annoying reminders about my background

The past week I have been traveling again. First to Switzerland and then to Rome in Italy, both were business trips. Last year I had some bad experiences were I obviously was not passing and got some really bad comments from people. For some reasons these things seem to be more common during spring and summer time so I really hope the experiences over the past week is a precursor of that this year as well.

There were two different kind of situations. The first one was when I together with three older male collegues were visiting Switzerland and one of them several time addressed the Swedish team with expressions like “Hey, boys lets have something to eat” (Grabbar, nu ska vi…). The hard part is that it is from a person that I have worked with for some time and really respects me for my knowledge and experience. So it is not at all meant to disrespect me but said spontaneuosly and almost without even noticing his error himself. I guess it has something to do with the English expressions “Hey, guys…” which can be used for both males and females in some occasions. What really sucks is that when collegues such as him has spent sometime with me there is obviously something about my appearance or voice that makes them not clearly see me as a female. At least not completely. Sure, these kind of comments can happen to genetic females as well but during the trip one of the Swiss officers even said “Let’s have the woman in the middle in the photo…” and he was referring to the other woman in the group. Again clearly spontaneously not thinking of me as a woman. Again not meant to be disrespectful because this was a high-level visit between two countries. Still it happens.

When I think about this I realise that this “Hey, boys…” happens to me at least every months or so at work. Or some other situations were someone starts by saying that, than pauses for quite a while and adds “…and girls…”. It happens in emails were they can start with “Gents, lets have a teleconference….”. It does not hurt the same way as when someone says “he…” maybe because it is an effect of a male-dominated workplace but somehow it adds to put a dent in my self-confidence.

The second situation was the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome when I went to my room during lunch time and found the cleaning staff working in my room. I was wearing my pink shirt, jeans, Coach sneakers and Coach handbag. I met the young women working there for maybe 10 seconds before they went into the room again. Inside the room I heard them whispering in Italian and I understood that they were discussion whether or not I was a transvestite. I became cold and it felt so unfair. What did I do so wrong that they read my so fast? It is of course an impolite and unprofessional behaviour from hotel staff but that is not the thing. The thing is that it put another dent in the self-esteem saying I am not seen as real woman. Again.

All of this puts my recent issues of feeling very uncomfortable at bars and my feeling of not being able to believe in myself as being attractive in the eyes of lesbian women. I mean what is the chance that I am passing at all? And if I am not, what is the chances that she thinks it is ok even though she reads me as woman with transsexual background.

Second time at the public bath – much less nervous

At my birthday party in October last year I got a wonderful gift from one of my closest friends. It was two gift certificates for a Spa Bath at one of the old bath facilities in the city of Stockholm called Centralbadet. It was the place were I had my bikini debut last summer together with my dear friend Puck. He thought we seemed to have such a nice time there so basically he gave me her as a birthday gift to me 🙂 And she seemed pleased to have another relaxing evening at the Spa.

This Tuesday we had planned to go there and as an even better touch I had been given a Spa treatment as well so she had made an appointment for that at 1900 hours. Last summer I was nervous beyond belief before going there and I frankly would not have made it would her at my side. This time I was way more relaxed. Still a bit anxious about how much people there would be and whether or not I have fixed my body enough before. But apart from that quite calm and very much able to talk.

I was a very nice feeling to enter the old building again since I had so fond memories from it the last time. I think the worst part was approaching the reception and passing over all the gift certificates. It is almost as that is the point where I feeled judged to which sex I do belong. Again, this time without any makeup and my own long hair. We got dark green towels and a white bath robe each and headed for the women’s changing room. A bit more women there than the last time but not totally crowded. Think I was mostly worried about my voice and how feminine that would sound. I don’t want to experience anyone turning around with some confused look on the face looking at me. I think I managed to look around a bit to experience the whole situation. I mean I am a lesbian and just had to look a little bit at least. Even though it feels a bit strange. Well, we changed and went for the showers where it felt nice to have been there before so I knew how everything worked. It felt so nice to be there in my bikini and showering, feeling my hair down the back as it was becoming wet.

This time we left the shower room in our white bath robes and I guess that was a bit worse than last time because people saw almost nothing of my body and I believe that really helps me passing. But it was a bit chilly so it made sense to wear them. We found the waiting area for the spa upstairs and chatted a little about life and love. Something that really have not worked out for me yet. Love that is. Well, after a while a young lady called my name and I went off to the spa area for a hot stone massage. It is hard to know but somehow I did sense a hesitant reaction from the young women. At least she did nothing to make me feel extra welcome and at home. However, the massage was just wonderful. Those hot stones were just the right temperature and I almost dozed off at the massage bench.

Coming down from the spa treatment area I started looking for my friend and found her in the bubble bath. I looked at her with a question in my eyes and she signaled to me to come join the bath beside her. There was a small empty spot there. Again, approaching a large group of people in my bikini is something special. Tried to move graceful and slipped into the bath beside my friend. It seemed to work this time as well. However, without a bachelor party in the pool this time!

We spent the rest of the evening eating and talking in the relax area and finished off with a long sauna bath at the end. Again I remembered how nice it was to be able to do these things again. Used the same hair conditioner as last time in my long hair so I had a scent memory of the experience. Last time the scent of the conditioner last at least 24 hours.

Back home I felt the same kind of harmony as last time. Feeling proud of myself challenging myself again. Feeling fortunate to have such a wonderful friend. Feeling soft and tired of the massage and the sauna bath. Fell asleep.

The third P-anniversary…

Three years ago I was at the hospital having a lot of pain and frankly quite scared because I did not know yet that the surgery had been a success. It was March 12th 2007 where I did one of the biggest things in my life. Longing for it so much but also worried about things that could go wrong. However, it felt absolutely the right thing to do. This year I did not think if it until today and maybe it is a good sign that it is not that present in my daily life. Maybe, it would be better to celebrate some other day which corresponds to when I was feeling much better rather than the day I was stuck in a hospital bed with an epidural.

So how is life these days then? Well, in general life is pretty good, a lot of the fears I had after the process have not been anything to worry about. I mean the surgery here in Sweden has a mixed effect on very intimate aspects and things that affects the everyday life. In fact since quite few people see your private parts most of them are everyday things. Being able to wear any kind of clothes, having a gender-correct personal number (social security number) and of course a much better effect of the hormone treatment. I think I pass much more and it makes everyday life so much better without being questioned or looked at all the times. I think I can spend a lot more energy on other things as a result.

The work-related stuff has also played out more than good. I think I have the best job in the world and my background does not seem to affect it in any negative ways and I feel very proud in my female dark blue Air Force uniform when at work. It is also great to be noticed for what I do and not just for who I am. Being on the first page of one of the Swedish top tech magazines is such a thing. From one perspective it feels wonderful to have been able to achieve this despite my background but on one hand it is also just as natural as it should be. I like to be somewhat of a geeky girl who are passionate about what we are trying to achieve at work. Being able to speak at conferences like Momentum and EMC World is really cool to me.

From a personal perspective it is a bit more mixed. As I have said many times before here I feel so alive nowadays and it means both ups and downs. I like my new body very much and it feels great to be able to go around Stockholm without feeling a need for make-up and all of that all the time. It is a wonderful freedom to be me, a woman, all the time without feeling the cinderella effect each night.

One important point of any transition process is to be realistic about expectations both from a body perspective but also from a life perspective. I think I was really aware of that and I guess that is also why I am so pleased about my new body. I had lower expectations and it turned out better than that. Just as I don’t think it is fully possible to prepare for the rehabiliation after the first main surgery I don’t really think it is possible to fully imagine life post-op. I think I at least hoped it would be a little bit easier to feel confident at bars and night clubs. I mean I am so much more confident in most other parts of my life, often to a degree that I rarely think about my background or at least not worrying about it. However, the fear of being read as not a genetic woman is still there.

However, looking at the past ten years the relationship aspect of my life has not become any better after the surgery – it feels more difficult than ever. That is so mixed because I feel so good about myself in general and even proud of where I am today and still I am getting nowhere to find love. I wonder if it is the process itself that does things to me which takes some effort to overcome. I have many nice friends, many of them women and it feels great to hear that they think I am a wonderful person. Somehow that does not seem to matter, since I have no luck at all. These things become so obvious sometimes in the casual social environments at work where a common question is: “So, do you have family and kids?” It is not that I don’t have that NOW – the hard thing to process is that I never had and does seem to be very far from it. I wonder if I women simply aren’t attracted to me or if they are and I am not noticing it. I am not sure which is worst.

It is easy to think I am doing anything wrong, even though my friends insist I am not. However, something stops me from finding love. Sure, there are always things to work on but for me I have fought so hard to be where I am today that it also feels strange to start changing things. I mean to me it is very attractive to be who you are in a natural way and be proud of that. I am proud of that I am a woman now but ten years of experiences continue to remind that some people do not look at me that way always. That makes it more difficult to believe in yourself with a constant fear of being seen as strange. Maybe online dating sites is not so good even though I only use gay ones. Being open with myself is important to not be forced back into that dreaded closet again but on the other hand may scare women off. Not because of my transsexual background per se but because there is always an interesting woman around who isn’t at the next place in the search listing. In that case life is quite unfair, but that is no surprise of course. Also being in small lesbian world most likely makes it even more difficult…

So, on my third pussy anniversary my life is pretty good in many respects but with a growing frustration over a missing piece  (the only?) in my life…

The Long Tail of Enterprise Content Management

Question: Can we expect a much larger amount of the available content to be consumed or used by at least a few people in the organisations?

Shifting focus from bestsellers to niche markets
In 2006 the editior-in-chief of Wired magazine Chris Andersson published his book called ”The Long Tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”. Maybe even the text printed on the top of the cover saying ”How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimted Demand” is the best summary of the book. This might have been said many times before but I felt a strong need to put my reflections into text after reading this book. It put a vital piece of the puzzle in place when seeing the connections to our efforts to implement Enterprise 2.0 within an ECM-context.

Basically Chris Andersson sets out to explain why companies like Amazon, Netflix, Apple iTunes and several others make a lot of money in selling small amounts of a very large set of products. It turns out that out of even millions of songs/books/movies nearly all of them are rented or bought at least once. What makes this possible is comprised out of these things:

Production is democratized which means that the tools and means to produce songs, books and movies is available to almost everybody at a relatively low lost.
– Demoractization of distribution where companies can broker large amount of digital content because there is a very low cost for having a large stock of digital content compared to real products on real shelves in real warehouses.
– Connecting supply and demand so that all this created content meets its potential buyers and the tools for that is search functions, rankings and collaborative reviews.

What this effectivly means is that the hit-culture where everything is focused on a small set of bestsellers is replaced with vast amounts of small niches. That has probably an effect of the society as a whole since the time where a significant amount of the population where exposed to the same thing at the same time is over. That is also reflected in the explosion of the number of specialised TV-channels and TV/video-on-demand services that lets views choose not only which show to watch but also when to watch it.

Early Knowledge Management and the rise of Web 2.0
Back in the late 90-ies Knowledge Management efforts thrived with great aspirations of taking a grip of the knowledge assets of companies and organisations. Although there are many views and definitions of Knowledge Management many of them focused on increasing the capture of knowledge and that the application of that captured knowledge would lead to better efficiency and better business. However, partly because of technical immaturity many of these projects did not reach its ambitous goals.

Five or six years later the landscape has changed completely on the web with the rise of Youtube, Flickr, Google, FaceBook and many other Web 2.0 services. They provided a radically lowered threshold to contribute information and the whole web changed from a focus on consuming information to producing and contributing information. This was in fact just democratization of production but in this case not only products to sell but information of all kind.

Using the large-scale hubs of Youtube, Flickr and Facebook the distribution aspect of the Long Tail was covered since all this new content also was spread in clever ways to friends in our networks or too niche ”consumers” finding info based on tagging and recommendations. Maybe the my friend network in Facebook in essence is a represention of a small niche market who is interested in following what I am contributing (doing).

Social media goes Enterprise
When this effect started spreading beyond the public internet into the corporate network the term Enterprise 2.0 was coined by Andrew McAfee. Inside the enterprise people where starting to share information on a much wider scale than before and in some aspects made the old KM-dreams finally come into being. This time not because of formal management plans but more based on social factors and networking that really inspired people to contribute.

From an Enterprise Content Management perspective this also means that if we can put all this social interaction and generated content on top of an ECM-infrastructure we can achieve far more than just supporting formal workflows, records management and retention demands. The ECM-repository has a possibility to become the backbone to provide all kind of captured knowledge within the enterprise.

The interesting question is if this also marks a cultural change in what types of information that people devoted their attention to. One could argue that traditional ECM-systems provide more of a limited ”hit-oriented” consumption of information. The abscense of good search interfaces, recommendation engines and collaboration probably left most of the information unseen.

Implications for Enterprise Content Management
The social features in Enterprise 2.0 changes all that. Suddenly the same effect on exposure can be seen on enterprise content just as we have seen it on consumer goods. There is no shortage of storage space today. The amount of objects stored is already large but will increase a lot since it is so much easier to contribute. Social features allows exposure of things that have linkages to interests, competencies and networks instead of what the management wants to push. People interested in learning have somewhere to go even for niche interests and those wanting to share can get affirmations when their content is read and commented by others even if it is a small number. Advanced searching and exploitation of social and content analytics can create personalised mashup portals and push notifcations of interesting conent or people.

Could this long tail effect possibly have a difference on the whole knowledge management perspective? This time not from the management aspect of it but rather the learning aspect of it. Can we expect a much larger amount of the available content to be consumed or used by at least a few people in the organisations? Large organisations have a fairly large number or roles and responsibilities to there must reasonably be a great difference in what information they need and with whom they need to share information with. The Long Tail effect in ECM-terms could be a way to illustrate how a much larger percentage of the enterprise content is used and reused. It is not necessarily so that more informtion is better but this can mean more of the right information to more of the right people. Add to that the creative effect of being constantly stimulated by ideas and reflections from others around you and it could be a winning concept.

Sources

Andersson, Chris, ”The Long Tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”, 2006
Koernan, Brendan I, ”Driven by Distraction – How Twitter and Facebook make us more productive workers” in Wired Magazine March 20

A nice segment from SVT (Swedish Television)

A night out – girl's party at a familiar place

Last night I got a late call from one of my friends on her way to a party downtown Stockholm. She had came to think of me and wondered if I could join them at the party. I think most people feel they need some sort of mental preparing before going out dancing and for me that is probably even more so. So here I was watching Mythbusters on the TV and wondered what I should do. I thought I better say yes. Partly because a need to come out a bit and I like to dance but I guess also to avoid feeling left out. I am very sensitive for being left out and I think I go out of the way to not intrude or bother people who want to be left alone. Too much of course, probably because I left my childhood home with a bit of anxiety for parties and also of course my coming out process where I was almost surprised when people wanted to hang out with me “although” I was a transsexual girl. I am working on that but it still comes back sometimes in the club environment. This summer at a Pride party I also experienced that feeling of almost being in the way for my company (right or not). I felt like I was the boring girl hanging along. Some serious self-confidence issues here…

So after I while I stood in the wardrobe line and felt almost shaky. Partly from walking alone from my car in the dark night of Stockholm but also a bit scared of how I would handle myself at this party. Of course looking forward to see my friends but also nervous. Luckily my friend spotted me in the line and gave me a hug and some company while waiting. I had been to this place a few times before but that was 8-9 years ago or so. The very first time almost not being let in because they wanted proof of me being a transsexual woman. That time scared because of passing but this time not as much to my surprise. I felt cute in my greenish shirt with a lace top under and my own hair flowing over my shoulders. It seemed I passed well because I got almost no looks at all. Being not looked at is somewhat comforting I guess but also not the best approach to meet someone.

Walking towards the bar I realised that one of the things I have trouble to handle is that the whole experience is a strange mix of people in a party mood which means that they are happy towards certain people but also a bit impolite towards others. You are being pushed or even spilled drinks on and have to fight your way towards the bar. When you meet someone there is almost often not enough room and it is easy to feel pushed away because people need to scream in each other’s ears to get some attention. I guess a have a tendency to back off when being pushed in different ways. The music was load and it was really hard to hear what people where saying which is my next issue.

My voice is something I have written about before. I am proud of the work I have done with it over the years and today I feel more confident than ever. I mean people have several time told me I have a nice female voice or even a “chick-voice”. I found myself thinking about how I sound less and less. However, in the loud club environment I find that I have to muster all my energy down to the stomach to say something. Then what comes out sound very coarse and not feminine to me. However, what is worst is that all that makes almost avoid talking to people because I feel I lose all spontaneity and everything I say feels a bit corny. This strange because in other situations I like to talk to people and think I am quite good at creating a good conversation with most people.

So I ended up around a table with my friends drinking a coke. A little bit surprise that the crowd was reasonably varied (compared to last time!) with different looks and a wider age spread than usual. A flow of lesbian women around me to and from the dance floor pumping out music. Everybody occupied with there own look and checking other people out. I wondered how people see each other and how this instant attraction really works. Of course I am wondering if I am passing and I guess me being not in my best element is visible to people. But I almost felt invisible in that flow of women. Seeing my friends socialising, talking and even kissing people around me makes the contrast bigger.

I know everybody is not up for that but of course I can’t help thinking about Sara Löwestams column in the LGBT Magazine QX where she reminds people that transsexual people sometimes have missed out of all these teenage things. The school parties with the first kiss and the first love. Getting experiences but of course also making mistakes. I did not have these experiences and that can bring insecurity in unfamiliar situations like this. After a while I ended up being there at the table alone because some have went to the restrooms and the other’s I have no clue. The feeling of being lonely or maybe even worse thinking that other people think I am lonely. Especially if they “read me” as a transsexual woman. I did not panic or so but I decided that if my friends or some other that I know showed up in 15 minutes or so I just had to leave. Luckily I got some company just before my mental deadline.

After a while we ended up dancing and I had a great time for the first time that evening. The music were better than earlier that night and it felt nice being in the sea of women dancing. Around 2.20 most of my friends have went in different directions again and it was me and a friend of mine left at the very same table. When she said she was going home I tagged along. Mostly of fear of standing there alone again but also to keep and get some company on our way home.

In the end I think I hope I can master all situations but have to realize that I am more comfortable in some than others. I should therefore accept that I prefer maybe a nice dinner rather than a night out at loud bars. However, I like to dance and it is fun to look at people so I also don’t want to feel like I am not the girl to bring along for these things. Again fear of feeling left out. I wonder how people do it. Maybe alcohol have something to do with it…

Wondering about what is good for me…

Over the years I have given quite a few interviews some of which can be accessed here. I did not accept doing these right away but gave it some serious thinking. The main factor I believe was whether or not the journalist seemed genuinely interested in portraying me in a nice way without any sensation in mind. Doing these interviews have been very nice experiences and I feel fortunate to have these short snapshots of my life. Spending a few hours with a complete stranger and talking about rather personal things is often rather therapeutic and I guess it is also nice to be the center of attention for that time. When I started to come out internet was just starting to exist as we know it today and I remember how hard it was to get information about what it was like to be a transsexual woman. I remember reading the few articles I found in secret and with deep fascination. Knowing that you are not alone in this situation is so important. With that in mind I accepted doing the interviews also to maybe make a difference for other people in my situation and their close ones. Spreading information to the general public is of course also important since it is usually a good way to make things less strange. Misconceptions often come from lack of information.

Lately another aspect of how to deal with interview requests have been surfacing in my mind. Whether or not it is good for me as a person to keep reaffirming my status as a transsexual woman. It does not have to do with denying my past or anything like that but just what is will do for my self-confidence and self-image to have someone look at me as being different. Not that journalists have been negative towards me in any way but maybe the fact that I am special or courageous just because I have made this journey. Maybe also reminding people around me that I am not just another woman. My idealistic heart of course wants to keep changing the world by being out there on the barricades but maybe I have done my part for a while. On the other hand I strongly believe that we need to normalise our situation by also promoting people who actually make it as business leaders or in public office while being open with their transsexual background. When President Obama recently assigned a transsexual woman as the technical advisor to the US Commerce Department that was a big thing for all of us. My own situation is also quite cool when I think about it. I feel rather successful in my line of work and it feels great to be able to do that “despite” my background for lack of better words. It actually is quite nice to just be a skilled woman without having to talk about my personal life as well.

So as you see this is not an easy thing to handle. Lately I have started to hesitate when journalists call me and it has often ended in not doing the interview because the deadline had passed. I am finding myself confused and my “save-the-world”-gene prevents me from saying “no” so instead I have become hesitant. I have also found myself a little bit prudish for the first time in life. I have been asked to particpate in an art project around femininity which includes doing a photo shoot without any clothes but I can use props to cover selected parts if I like. On one hand I really would like to do that and use it as an exercise to feel confident as a woman in the nude and possibly get some well needed affirmations. However, unlike all other media related things I have done I don’t regret any of them and would gladly make most of that public at work for instance. It is not the same if I do this painting I think. I know there is a common fascination around the results of the transition process and the surgeries. Can I handle the fact that people around me will look at that painting to “judge” the results and look for any traces of my old self? I don’t know…

What I think all of this boils down to is how my self-image really is affected in the long run. I need to be able to settle down as a woman and to be able to think positively about how I am perceived or actually not thinking about it at all. The difference in how much time a day I spend worrying about how people would see me between now and ten years ago is just huge. Today it can happen but back then it was the normal state of mind. Moving away from that is not easy and what I am fearing is that recurring affirmations of that by doing interviews could make that process slower. On the other hand these thoughts will come anyway without any journalist in sight. Maybe when I am entering immigration in the US, walking into a store full of teenage girls or meeting officers from other nations. And of course when I am attracted to that cute lesbian woman…

Maybe I am also a bit new to the feeling of not being that sure about what to do about this anymore…

Relating to my own history

This is probably one of the more difficult aspects of my life I think – to relate to my own history. From the very beginning I have been very open with everything with life hoping that it would make everything easier since there are a lot of misconceptions and lack of information regarding transgender issues in general. It seem to really have helped since I have had hardly any negative experiences in my process. Of course it took me a lot of courage to start being open and “come out of the closet” so to say. That was not an easy process – and a lonely one.

So today I am almost facing the opposite. My dream have come true and I am my true self in terms of gender and sex but as I am probably passing sometimes it brings up the opposite question. When do I tell someone about my background? Some would argue that there is no reason to tell since I am a woman today and it is nobody’s business. However, no matter how you put the whole process have been such an important part of my life, my experience and who I am today. I believe that all people change and evolve over time and this was my experience – maybe more than most people experience but still. So in order to get personal with someone it is very difficult to not feeling the need to relate to my own experiences. Also have experienced the anxiety of waiting for the “right moment” to tell someone and that is not something I want to experience again. So this leads to the obvious Catch 22 when I so like being “just a woman” and also feel that I can’t deny my past.

A couple of months ago I was cleaning out my old office in Uppsala and taking care of the paper piles turned into a travel in time. The closer I got to the bottom I got closer to stuff from the 1990-ies when my situation was different. Seeing my old name is still a bit annoying but not as complicated as it was just one or two years ago. The real shock came when old pictures of me turned up in the piles and in binders from military schools and stuff. There I saw another person that was still me. Things like that of course remind me of my past in a negative way. Brings back memories of how scared I was to talk to anyone about my situation but also a very visible proof of the fact that I was not a woman back then. In my head of course but nothing that people actually saw and knew. I know that it shouldn’t but that of course affects my self image today.

This week a friend of mine suddenly looked at me and said that she just could not imagine me as a man. That was of course very sweet and just that kind of compliment that my still rather week self-image needs to be fueled with. For some reason it means more when a woman says it to me. However, later in the evening she said that she wasn’t sure about what she would feel about seeing pictures of me from before my transition. Not that I ever show people that but it made me start thinking. It put yet another aspect of my past. She said she was scared that these old images would get stuck in her head and I think that was a scary thought for both of us. However, since I do have a fear which is a bit like Cinderella – for lack of better words that the image of me as woman would fall just like Cinderella turns back from princess to an ordinary maid. I realized that things from my past then can be somewhat of a threat to me and my life today. Again, just like me passing or not, something I actually don’t have any control of. That made me a bit scared. I mean how should I know when these images can pop up – hopefully there weren’t many digital cameras back then.

Looking back at 2009

I know, this blog has not been updated in a couple of months now. I think it mainly has to do with the fact that I use FaceBook a lot nowadays and some of these updates are also posted in the column to the right. I also think it had a little bit to do with my last tiny experience with love that took a couple of weeks to process and then intense work made me forget to write here. However, I do like to write and I believe it is really good to do that for me. It is a very good way to process feelings and experiences. Maybe what I write here also means something to other people reading it and that is of course also very nice to know.

So as we enter a new year I realize that each year seem to be even more important than the last one. When I look back I think that has been true for the last 10-15 years of my life and some years brought big experiences and sometimes also big changes as the result of that. The past year started in a rather sad way being sad for lost love. Actually it was not lost love for me but rather my own sense of losing a chance for love. Something like “how would I find someone like her again”. I took it rather hard when I later learned that she had found love and for some reason it felt worse that it was love for a man as well. What I learned from that was that there is no point of trying to be nice in that crucial moment when you declare that you have no romantic/sexual interest in a person. Instead of being nice and try wrap it in by saying “it’s not You that there is anything wrong with, it is me who are not ready”. Usually the somewhat crual but honest fact is that “she wasn’t attracted to me” and I now think it is better to say that to remove any hope and to make the experience of finding out that she have found another person much easier.

Another experience at the beginning of the year was how to deal with not passing and how to react to people saying not so nice things to our about me. I learned to raise my voice but also that it can sometimes feel like being the “touchy” one which is easily hurt. However, it feels much better to voice my reactions than sitting there with a hurting stomach being more and more sad. Partly because it feels good to get the very real feelings out of the system but also getting it out on the table and get some other reactions to it. That can in most cases be a good way to see what others think of the very same situation.

Summer vactions started late for me and I felt a bit low and lonely. Working hard sometimes makes me lose a little bit of the close contact with my friends and during summer time it is easy to feel a bit behind. It takes a while to catch up. Also realised that I needed some therapy to coach me through the daily experiences I have as well as my self-esteem as a woman – a woman that another woman can be attracted to. Found a good woman who gave me support and coaching about my own reactions but not the least to conquer some of these small fears. I think she had an important part in me being a lot more brave about my feelings for a woman I had a crush on. Actually felt a little bit proud that I actually managed to say what I felt for her without waiting for more than a couple of weeks.

Yes, my little love candle was lit in August which seem to confirm that it only happens once a year or so. I had some great summer evenings with her and it felt just wonderful to have these butterflies in my stomach for a while. In the end I learned that she was not attracted to me and in the light of past experiences that was just the words that is best to use in the long run. After processing that for a couple of weeks we started seeing each other again and I now consider her a dear friend and really think that was the best choice for both of us. Sure it hurts to be rejected – especially when I really need some affirmations as an attractive woman. However, another important thing I learned is that sometimes that rejected is also the sweetest thing. It actually means that someone thinks I am a fine person that she does not want to “waste” on a one-night-stand. That means that sometimes refusing to make out or have sex is a much stronger sign of love than doing it.

I also think I learned to come out as a lesbian again. You see in my situation as a lesbian woman with a transsexual background I realised that the main thing for me always has been my gender identity and being accepted as a woman, especially by other women. I have no experience of the day when I started to be attracted to woman – I have always been attracted to women. However, I now realize that my desire of being accepted (or fear of being rejected by women) made me  repress most of the feelings I had for them. A close friend of mine called that “believing in the sistershood between (lesbian) woman”. The reality is however that when lesbian women meet they sometimes experience attraction and that it is a very normal reaction. However, the key thing is how you act on it. In some sense it felt good to know that I did not necessarily “betrayed a friendship” just because I suddenly found one of my female friends attractive.

It is also easy to be way to hard on myself to be successful in every aspect of life. However, it is not always easy to match the fact that I am 35 in many respects but when it comes to relationships are more like 20. Experience the these shifts can sometimes take me with surprise. To handle that during the day I I comfortably stand on a scene in front of 150 people and speaking passionatly about Enterprise Content Management and being one of the “stars” of the conference that everybody wants to talk to. Later in the evening at the lesbian club I become the shy and quite girl who think everybody is way cooler than me and that no one can possibly want to talk to me let alone being attracted to me. Being just a woman in that setting is not that easy. However, I also need to accept that the bar environment isn’t everyones best arena and that I feel much more confident (and charming) at a more quite private party.

The hard part I guess is to relate to my own transsexual background. Feeling great as a woman nowadays and often smiling when I see myself in the mirror. At the same time a need to get some kind of positive affirmation from that cute woman that she actually sees me as the woman I am. No matter how confident I am it is still always in the end up to others to make that judgement. Especially in the rather cruel and binary attraction situation where it is either “on” or “off”. On one hand I should be a little bit more brave but that is hard when I am so adjusted to seek that sign of acceptance that makes it “a green light”.

In all going into 2010 life is actually rather good but there is of course that little love thing missing. I hope that this important year of 2009 made me a little bit more confident and that I sometime will found that woman that can see me more than a friend and thus become my princess. However, in the end I would never have come this far without so many supporting friends. Wish me luck!