Writing in the Sun

Sunshine in Zug 2014

This is my workspace for today, and all while visiting treasured friends in Zug, Switzerland. I am now working parallel on my 4th and 5th draft. Lots of revision to be done. I am still amazed by how crap my 3rd draft was…
My lecturers at the art academy taught me well many years ago: Don’t be satisfied with your work too quickly. Even if it seems to be good enough – revise, revise, revise. But then of course, you need to know when to stop so you don’t overshoot the mark. Happy Sunday everyone. Sending you sunshine from gorgeous Zug!

James Bond

1997 dressed up metropol

This picture was taken only days after I came out at my workplace and announced, “I am actually a man and would like to be called Liam from now on.” Everyone embraced who I was. My employer gracefully ignored my big boobs and sent me to the tailor to get my very first tailor-made suit. All thumbs, I never managed to tie my own ties. But, thanks to the lovely ladies at the ticket office who helped me every day, I was just a short step away from looking as dashing as James Bond.

Oma

1987 oma and frau schmid

This is my oma (German for grandma) with her best friend. Oma left us on 26th December 1996. Today, she would have turned 105 years old. Whatever happens, she will always live on in my memories – and in all of yours, I hope.
My book will be dedicated to her. Everything you will read will be in large part thanks to Frida Klenk – my amazing, irreplaceable oma. Throughout my youth she was always there for me, lifting me up with her gracious heart, her strength, her smile and her undefeatable optimism. Happy birthday Oma! Thanks for helping me grow into the positive force I am today. I am sending you the biggest hug imaginable. I love you.

Why Don’t You Send Your Wife

2008 liam in mini life jacket

For a while, I was male in body but still female on paper. If I had to apply for any kind of official documents, people would usually look at me and say, “Why don’t you send your wife?” I would turn red like a tomato, stammer, and would hate every second of our exchange.

A few days ago, I needed to make some phone calls to order divorce papers from years back. So my conversation with the friendly registrar on the phone went like this…
Me: “Hello, can you please send me a copy of my divorce papers from 2004?”
Registrar: “Sure. May I ask, who was your wife at the time?”
Me: “I was.”
Silence…
Registrar: “I am sorry, I don’t get it.”
Me, laughing: “I am sorry for confusing you. I had a sex change but back then, I was Mrs. William. I was the wife.”
Registrar:”Oh, I am sorry.”
Me: “Don’t worry about it. So now I am a man. But can you still send me those papers as they were then, listing me as female?”
Registrar: “I am still a bit confused, but yes, I will get right on it.”
Me, chuckling: “Thanks a lot. Have a great day!”
Registrar: “Thanks Mr. Klenk, you too.”
She had sounded so honestly puzzled and been so sweet about it, I couldn’t stop giggling for a good half hour.

And then it occurred to me: I don’t mind anymore. The process of writing my memoirs and reliving so many incredible experiences must have helped as well. I feel completely relaxed and unconcerned. I am at ease with who I am. Yes, I am transsexual. Yes, I do not fit the norm. Yes, I have had a crazy odyssey so far. Some of it was incredibly hard to deal with and survive…

Thank you universe, for every single second of this precious life. It has made me who I am. Thank you with all my heart.

Dhiddhu

2006 lunch on dhiddu

Nature is where I find myself and where I find balance. I can think of nothing more enlivening than my toes playing with the tender blades of fresh grass, or my feet sinking slowly into velvety, warm sand. This photo was taken during my time as a guide in the Maldives, eating lunch on a beautiful, uninhabited island called Dhiddhu. But we don’t have to go that far to be happy. Every drop of rain, every singing bird, every single leaf shimmering with an emerald glow in the balmy afternoon sun, makes our life worth living.

Emerging

Once more, re-writing my chapters is taking much longer than I thought it would. I realize, I need to be patient, no matter how urgently I should be finished and start looking for work. I will keep dedicating my time, and let this (for now) final draft take however long it needs to take. Much needs to be improved. But I can feel it: the butterfly is slowly emerging from its cocoon… and you WILL see it take flight, honest, colorful, and distinct.

Not all those who wander…

2006 shipyard briefing

Surrounded by turquoise oceans teeming with life, I often pondered one of my favorite quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I had sometimes been lost before I had wandered. Ever since I had started exploring the world and myself in the process, I was definitely far from lost.