Monday, August 13, 2007
Looking at this picture, and reading the entry below of Walksfarwoman2007, makes me proud to be a Dutch person who is part of Europe. I hope one day that my Turkish friends come home with the same stories. Turks are great in stories, and can contribute to the European system....
Please find below an amazing story:
I had a lovely holiday in the spring. I drove to Newcastle and took a leisurely 12 hour overnight ferry to Amsterdam. My cabin was on the bow deck, at first I thought I was in the movie Titanic….the reality was I couldn’t see anything but the bow and the two men who ceremoniously came and took down the flag when we left port and then raised it again just before we entered the visiting harbor. But it was a peaceful and enjoyable trip, the sea was so calm and with the gentle motion you felt like a babe in arms being rocked to sleep, it was such a restful experience.
During my trip I met the most wonderful human being, a transsexual named Emma. I adored her on sight. It was obvious she was male but her taste in clothes and accessories, her style, her deportment and her manner and grace would put many women in the shade. She was on the guided tours I had signed up for so we mixed with many other British tourists some of whom I was deeply ashamed of.
They made comments loud enough to be heard by everyone but Emma looked the other way. They rudely stared at her large hands and firm legs but she carried on with such dignity that it moved me to tears. On one occasion I was on the point of making my feelings known in a very belligerent manner but realized that to do so would only bring attention to a sensitive situation so I linked my arm in hers and off we strolled into the magnificent Dutch Royal Palace, we were soon chatting like old friends and inseparable the rest of the trip.
Over the ensuing week, many of my fellow travelers came around to a different way of thinking. Emma was good at telling jokes and had the most contagious laugh. She knew so much about Dutch history and was riveting to listen to. She was caring in the way she took the time to listen to everyone without interrupting and never made complaint even though she had due cause. When she finally had the courage to open up, her personality was awesome. She was shining her light!
During our time together I learned that in her former life, she’d been privately educated to a high standard and traveled the world in a professional capacity. I was curious as to why she’d want to mix with a bunch of tourists some of whom were blatantly aggressive. She said… "Life is not living if you have to isolate yourself for fear of offending others or getting hurt yourself. I’m the same person I always was only my appearance has changed. For my own sanity I need to become the person I need to be and to do that I have to take the rough with the smooth, I just want a little acceptance and a shot at some kind of normality."
Our last night was in Arnhem scene of the tragic battle in WW2 and recaptured in the movie ’A Bridge Too Far’ - how strange that it should also be the place where Emma found peace. There was a resolute table of 4 who would have been more suited to a tour of penitentiaries, who glared and whispered mouth to ear in give away furtiveness - I now felt sorry for them. The rest of the party filtered over to Emma between courses and thanked her for making their trip so much fun, some hugging her with genuine warmth. She broke down and cried, even feeling the need to stand up in that crowded restaurant and tell us all how we had made her feel so happy.
She was wearing a stunning black dress that suited her tall, lean figure and was bedecked with a dazzling array of fine crystal necklaces. She them off one by one and gave them to the ladies sitting at our table as a token of friendship. She was bowled over when we discreetly revealed a package from under the table. She’d made such an impression upon us that we’d clubbed together to buy her a gift as a reminder of her trip.
Money, position, power mean nothing if you don’t have the opportunity to be your true self. We have no right to judge another, we have no right to deny anyone their place in the world. There are no ’terms of existence’ we are each free to live life the way we choose as long as it doesn’t harm or encroach upon our neighbor. Too often we dwell on the negative and classify minorities into clumps of rejected undesirables. We need to look at people as individuals and if we can’t…we need to look at ourselves.
© WalksFarWoman 2007