To my surprise I want to grow old with a man

Twenty-five years ago, I became the owner of the Savannah Bay Library in Utrecht. This was always what I was. But I increasingly feel the need to see who I am besides this. Outside the shop without books to hide behind. I’m kind of reinventing myself, relationally too. Having had lovers of all shapes and sizes, I’ve been with the same guy for eleven years now. We even get married.

“I also notice that I no longer feel at home in the city. I grew up in the woods near Lyrsum. Every day I cycled through the woods to school. Every day I went for pony rides and horseback riding. As a child I wanted to be a forest ranger,” she said. My mother, that’s impossible, you’re a girl. My dad had the same longing for nature somewhere. He was an economist, a liberal, had a job he didn’t love. He died unexpectedly at the age of 66. We were still in the midst of the struggles of adulthood. Tell him I understand a lot about him now.

My father was Dutch, and my mother was Indian. At Leersum that made us “different” my sister and I were also bullied. At that time I really wanted to go to town. Those were years of activism, squatting, and feminism. I went to study literature and women’s studies and heard about a women’s bookstore, Savannah Bay. I met a fellow student who works at a cash register and he asked if that wasn’t a thing for me either. Volunteer for a noble cause. In the store I immediately felt like a fish in water. Finally I can talk about books.

I’m not black, I’m not white, I’m not Dutch, I’m not straight, I’m not gay

“Books have influenced my life more than I learned in school. I grew up in a heterosexual environment, but an aunt stayed with her once. Lesbian beauty book On the shelf, a book from 1979. Without holding hands, I got to know all kinds of things in it when I was 15. To fall in love with a woman, and that there is more to marriage and children. The book instantly made me a feminist.

“In the ’90s, women’s bookstores were very old. Everything was scaled back, volunteers had to move from benefits to a paid job. In the end I was left alone. I always say I can’t stand the idea that the store won’t be around anymore. It’s true, but I had no idea what to do. I was too shy. I could do something in the store, and I knew what to do. I took over the store.

“In the early years we went through a deep valley. I kept relying on volunteers, and there was no money for the staff. My mother said: I will come and help you. I stayed fifteen years. Gradually the store became social communication, like the previous. Living room. Volunteers come here because they are looking for something they can’t find elsewhere. Even people in their seventies. It is a very safe bubble, Like me Existence is kind of the norm.

“Around 2008, I fell in love with someone who said he was on his way to moving in on a first date. It didn’t work out, but that’s how I ended up in the transgender world. Although I feel good in my gender, I feel a little bit in the The house is there. Probably because I’m also very fluid in a different way. I always say: I’m not black, I’m not white, I’m not Dutch, I’m not straight, I’m not gay. And I really like a movement that’s just starting. Teamwork and emotions. That people discover they’re not alone. Adventurous too : There was nothing yet, we’ll set it all up.

“Now I do everything outside of the store – coaching, exhibiting, organizing, advising. Not only is a shopkeeper approaching me anymore but also because I am a feminist, I know a lot about sex and Like me Activity, for being an Indian. It is a completely different feeling when you are approached for who you are, not just what you do. It gives a kind of pride. I’m also proud of the store, but it’s partly a kind of feminist heritage. You stand on the shoulders of the women who have made it happen.

“I always thought the person I want to propose is a woman. To my surprise is a man. We are so different, we’ve never matched on dating sites. He loves Brabant Challengers, and I love punk music. I got to know him through a panel we were together. Once upon a time He took a vacation because his cat was dying, I knew you’d do anything for your animal.

“He lives in Breda, and I live in Utrecht. I think the distance was right at first, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten that far. Now we long for a home for us together. With dogs and cats and an animal shelter. I just feel: We’d be very good at it.”

Recordings: ditbenik@nrc.nl

Leave a Comment