A couple of weeks ago, I took part in the annual ‘LGBT Talents’ event in Paris. I was deeply honored to have been invited as one of the panel speakers for one of half a dozen inspirational workshops on offer that day. I love speaking at this kind of event. It makes me happy to be able to inspire. To be able to lend strength and support and let others know that, no matter how difficult the deck of cards we’ve been given, we can find our way through and nevertheless play a more than decent game of happiness and personal success. I have no recipes or perfect solutions. All I can do is lend my perspective and be authentic and honest in sharing my own – so far quite challenging and unique – life journey.
Our panel was fantastic. My fellow speakers Alexandra, Rica, and Thomas were engaging, positive, and truly themselves as well. I was delighted to meet them as we talked about “The Issues of the Lesser Known Letters” in LGBTQI+. All of us didn’t hide behind phrases. We were right out there – offering to the audience all of who we are.
My personal highlights of the day were, first, a keynote by Antonia Belcher who told us about her life and difficult transition of setting free the woman who had been hidden away and trapped inside her male body for decades. She told us about her amazingly supportive family. About her open-minded children. And about her wife, who had married Anthony many years ago, then decided to remain by her husband’s side after discovering and coming to terms with the fact that he was and had in fact always been Antonia. So they got married a second time. Former husband and wife now being wife and wife. Still dedicated to supporting each other and spending life together as they always had been, come what may. Call me an incurable romantic. I had tears in my eyes throughout Antonia’s tale. Not even so much because of the hardship she was gently describing, but rather because of her beautiful resilience and conscious decision to face life with positivity, love, compassion, and dignity.
My second highlight of the day was connecting with the workshops’ participants throughout the day. I met wonderful individuals and was inspired by their bravery and quest to be true to themselves. Thank you so much to the organizers of this event for an unforgettable, enriching day!
From 2005 to 2009, I divided my time between serving customers at the dive center and guiding them in the Big Blue. Being back in central Europe at the moment, I know more than ever that life is infinitely better the more ocean I have around me. Things shift back into perspective. And I am reminded of what is truly important. Apart from being a universe of boundless beauty and tranquility, underwater is also where I began to see more clearly…
Watching coral reef life became the perfect metaphor of human daily life. For example, tiny fish who defended their territory taught me how important it is to stand up for yourself no matter how giant the opposition may seem. The myriad of reef fish and other critters in all colors of the rainbow mirrored the infinite diversity of life on land… of human life… Nothing was perfect. Life was even cruel, unpredictable.. Yet to a neutral observer like me, hovering motionless only a few feet away, observing quietly, this was the most delicate and beautiful web of individuals I had ever seen.
Then, there was the interaction amongst divers. Developing a stronger sense of self first was crucial to being able to take care of others.
When I became an instructor, teaching underwater taught me even more about life. The SCUBA instructors’ mantra “stop, think, act” turned out to be great advice no matter the situation or environment. Because, when something goes wrong during a dive or in life, it’s never just one thing but a multitude of smaller and bigger difficulties and challenges that need to be addressed and navigated. Prioritizing is key. Step by little step, we remove one obstacle after another and what seemed insurmountable at first all of a sudden becomes manageable.
Yesterday, I was invited by the Zurich Insurance Group to give a presentation on diversity, inclusion, and transgender, combined with reading from my book Paralian. There are no quick fixes, no recipes, no instruction manuals. But I do believe there is nothing more valuable than personal experience. So that’s what I gave, as always striving to be straightforward and honest… and simply sharing my journey whilst leaving space for people to come to their own conclusions.
It was a great evening!
The organization was superb.The audience was delightful and the questions I was asked during the Q&A session were thought provoking. Thank you so much to my awesome audience, to Zurich Insurance Group, and to the PrideZ team in particular, for welcoming me with such warmth and enthusiasm. This was definitely a highlight for me as a public speaker and an event to be fondly remembered!
Anyone else know this feeling: many times, in the middle of the night, I wake up able to remember complex dreams that feel like thrillers or epic tales of adventure. Then, during the one minute during which I surface from my dream universe, I think, “Wow, this is awesome. I need to make notes immediately!” Inevitably, my body refuses to cooperate and I drift back into the story I emerged from.
Sometimes, I even dream about ideas and about developing them.
Or I find myself in a half-awake-half-asleep daze with visions and creative ideas chasing each other… yet my exhausted mind isn’t able to focus on a single one.
Then the morning comes. I wake up, open my eyes, and vaguely remember creative sparks that seemed divine at the time. Yet no matter how hard I try to grasp a single one of those rays of magic, they are gone… resting safely in a land of their own…
Here is one of the articles I wrote for TheatreArtLife so far.
It is about discovering the magic backstage and re-claiming my muchness.
If you like this one also check out the other four articles from my contributor page. I am looking forward to writing more for this exciting new platform over the next few months and years. At the same time, I am also using every morning commute and lunch break to continue bringing the 1st draft of my second book to life…
TheatreArtLife has launched! Amongst many other interesting subjects to browse through, you’ll find an array of fabulous contributors sharing their personal stories and experiences.
The link here will take you to my contributor page where you’ll already see 5 engaging short stories/articles about backstage life – with more to come
Enjoy browsing the site!
My first gala premiere in Zurich’s Cinema Corso was in 1993. After a while of working as an usher, I became the designated follow-spot operator for these events, wielding an ancient, uncooperative, and incredibly heavy follow-spot. Ever since then theatre has a special place in my heart.
So, I am truly happy to be a tiny part of TheatreArtLife, an exciting new platform for theatre professionals and anyone interested in the performing arts. A global arena to share stories, ideas, technologies, and work methods. World premiere is imminent: on April 28th, 2017
From then on, stop by any time, on https://theatreartlife.com
In the article section, a select group of writers will share their ideas, memories, and opinions.
I’ll contribute articles regularly, based on my experiences backstage. They’ll be short stories about unforgettable moments and epiphanies during my work in theatre in Zurich, Macau, and Hong Kong. Stories about life lessons learned, and those moments when, by reaching beyond our limits, we become better human beings.