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Chapter 4  Histories Next Chapter / Diary Home / Support Site Home Scroll down in center section to read the rest of this chapter

October 2, 1989

Today was my long awaited lab test session with Dr. Smith. First off was the blood sample - they left me with none.... Next was the EKG, an interesting test not for the procedure but the protocol. During previous EKGs with other doctors I was simply bare chested. But here, they gave me a disposable paper "blouse" to preserve modesty, a commodity reserved exclusively to women. So, Indeed, an interesting change in society's attitude toward my person is beginning to congeal, even if only for the moment in the artificially created environment of my doctor's office.

And yet another aspect of my visit was most complex in its simplicity. Chris, the male nurse, had previously mentioned that some of his patients had never come "dressed" and he wondered what they looked like as women. So, I brought a long a coupla photos for him to see - me done up with wig and all. He said, "Very nice." but then, "When are you going to start growing your hair?" Now, on the surface, it was a simple question. But the ramifications.... What he MEANT was: 1) That the course I was following would make long hair a necessity very soon, and I had better start growing it now. I hadn't fully emotionally realized how quickly things were going to happen once they got started, but this really drove it home. 2) That it is not only okay for me to have long and sensuous hair, but desirable as part of my image. The concept of dressing and appearing in a manner that would attract men is only now beginning to creep into my conscious thought. Whether or not I am attracted to men is beside the point. If I am to truly become a woman, THEY will be attracted to ME!

I thought about this last point all the way home. And during the evening could often be caught checking my minimal profile out in the mirror and wondering what it would be like to be lusted after.... Oh, well....

October 4, 1989

It's kind of a strange day. I've been off the hormones since Dr. Smith told me to go "cold turkey" until he got a base-line blood panel. That was only two weeks ago, but the depressions I've felt are largely due, I believe, to the lowering of the hormone levels. Indeed, it feels like "super PMS"!

So as soon as I came back from the blood sampling two days ago, I popped a Premarin pill and took another that night. I know of at least one TS whose doctor prescribes that exact dose, and without the injections it should be safe enough.

It only took until this afternoon to see results. My emotional stability is back to its usually cheery self. And my bust development which had diminished noticeably puffed right back up to new heights. I suspect that is fat redistribution rather than any growth in real breast tissue, as it happened too quickly, but I'll take it whatever it is!

Of course my doctor would frown at this, but I just can't wait until next Monday when I get my complete physical exam and hopefully my new prescription.

Strangely, just before the puffiness kicked in, early in the afternoon, I felt certain male-oriented thoughts creeping into my mind. At one point, I wanted nothing more than to cut my long fingernails back to the quick and dive in the mud after a football. I wonder whether I would have had that thought if the estrogen levels were still high. For that matter, just how much is my thinking influenced or altered by the introduction of these hormones and suppression of others? I'm not sure any definitive study has been done, but it is possible that my resolve to be female would evaporate if I went off the medication for a say month or two? Would I have already drifted out of the yearning cycle and come back to enjoying the male life as I have done so many times before? Is this need that leads me into hormone use strengthened by that very use in a vicious circle that masks the true level of my intent and becomes a self-feeding, self-fulfilling prophecy? Sure, why not?

But then, what do I do? Do I quit entirely and let the demon brew filter from my system, finally releasing my mind to its true and natural course? Hell, no! But I will always wonder how I would really feel if I had gone off the juice and let equilibrium re-establish itself. A question for the ages, as if they cared....

October 8, 1989

Title: "Tarzan in a Teapot": The human interest story of a small boy who, when he hears the wrbling kettle whistle, believes he has the Lord of the Jungle trapped inside. Erma Bombeck, look out!

Well, enough frivolity, as they say. Here's the semi-regular, semi-daily report:

Last night was the first time anyone who has always known me as Dave has seen me as Melanie. To be sure, I have shown pictures to many of my friends, but I know that they are able to disassociate that svelte creature from any connection with my male self quite easily. But the actual confrontation face to face would necessitate a complete re-evaluation of how they saw and related to me. So it was with utmost trepidation that I waited for the moment to begin my preparations for my debut with Mark and Juni at my support group meeting.

For the entire morning, I moped about the house, unable to concentrate on anything, terrified of the vulnerability of stripping away my defenses and exposing my inner being to those I most care about. I had made arrangements with Mary and my Dad to take the kids out to the park at about two o'clock so I could dress unmolested. And at 1:55 I found myself alone with the clock ticking.

I had not dressed as Melanie in three weeks, and it took some time before I felt comfortable presenting myself in that fashion. To help take the rust off, I had arranged to meet a post-op friend from my support group for dinner so I could ease into the role, which always requires several hours for the defenses to melt.

At 4:00 I arrived at Natalie's apartment and spent just a few moments in general conversation before we left. Natalie drove us to a small coffee shop where she and Barbara, her post-op roommate, are known and accepted. So in addition to feeling that I passed casual inspection by the clientele, the waitress was also not a problem as she was used to this kind of thing with Natalie.

We spoke of many things, not always related to the gender issue, but that subject was indeed the most potent. This was the first deep conversation I have had with a post-op, and we explored the most intimate aspects of the transition process.

Natalie had lost a wife and family of two children in the journey. Happiness still alludes her, but that is tempered with a deep inner comfort that makes it bearable. There are obviously many tears to be shed along the way, but if you truly are transsexual, the undeniable need almost pulls you along in spite of yourself, and no amount of pain is great enough to dissuade you from your course.

By the time we returned to her apartment, I had loosened up considerably. We spent perhaps half an hour discussing music, families, and futures. Then it was time to go.

I arrived before Mark and Juni did, and found that it was much easier to break into conversation and present myself without second guessing that it had been on either of my two previous meetings there. In fact, instead of artificially raising my voice to a feminine pitch, I spoke in my usual tone, but with feminine annunciation and affectation. The voice seemed passable enough with those at the meeting, but they are much more tolerant than the public at large. Soon I must run some kind of independent test to see if my normal speaking voice is high enough to pass.

When Mark and Juni arrived as scheduled at 7:00 I rose to greet them. The Moment of Truth had come. But then it was gone again. It actually never happened. I was amazed that they registered no apparent shock. They greeted me in the same openly affectionate manner they always had, and I found myself easily being Melanie in front of them. Indeed, all of the fear and nervousness was for naught, as they were neither revolted nor I embarrassed or ashamed.

We had the opportunity to talk for several minutes before the meeting began. Strangely, the relationship hardly changed at all. I still cracked the same awful jokes, they still ribbed and kidded. The only real differences seemed to be in the subject areas I was now allowed to participate in. And I was allowed to react in whatever manner I chose without fear of ridicule.

The meeting was loosely called to order for the "workshop" portion of the evening. This is a two hour lecture/discussion/question-answer period to help people understand themselves and others, and how they fit in the general scheme of sex/gender.

As usual, there were only about five of us for the workshop, and it IS rather boring. But I could see that both of my friends were trying sincerely not just to absorb the information, but to truly understand what their friend was going through. They were both insightful in their questions and candid with their answers.

Toward the end of the workshop, people began to drift in for the "rap session", a "round robin" where each person is encouraged to explain as much or as little of his or her situation to the group for guidance, support or just to open up and let it all out. About half the group each month is repeats and the others, new faces or infrequent attendees. Each has tale to tell, and not of them have had a smooth time of it.

An interesting side note: During the rap session, I mentioned I was sitting under the air conditioning vent and thought I was catching cold. Shortly thereafter, Mark got up and left. Moments later, that was a nudge to my shoulder. I looked up and he had returned from his car with a sweater for me to wear. I reveled both in the thrill of being "looked after" in a manner that never would have even been thought of with me as Dave, and also in the status with my group of having my friend treat me publicly as the woman I will soon become. I gladly accepted the sweater and draped it over my shoulders for the remainder of the discussion. And I must admit, the comfort of that sweater was almost as warm as the glow inside me.

Several hours later, we had all had our say and broke up for the "social" portion of the evening, where we are free to intermingle and hob nob with whomever about whatever. There, I had my second long discussion with a more progressed transsexual and found many similarities between her and myself. I suspect a friendship may grow there.

Mark and Juni spent time both with me and alone with others, truly finding the humanity behind the carnival and pathos. However, I kept waiting for that moment when our relationship would irrevocably change: that cataclysmic instant in which everything would be altered forever. But there was to be no cathartic explosion, no thunderous bolt. I suddenly realized that I had already been reclassified by my friends and our relationship had not suffered for it. Yes, I sense a slight separation between Mark and myself that I had never felt before. But is not one of diminished feeling, but one of respectful distance that occurs between most friends of opposite gender. So our feelings of friendship are as strong or stronger than ever, but the camaraderie is no longer a part of it.

However, Juni is much closer now, both in a mental and physical sense. We share an occasional private smile and an unspoken sense of "being on the same team". In fact, that very neatly defines the feeling. It is as if I had been on a professional sports team and just got traded. I still have the greatest affection for my former team mates, but now am developing closer ties with the new ones. This was driven home just before I drove home for the evening. As I parted company with them on the front walk, Mark did not offer the traditional handshake he usually had, however Juni gave me a sisterly hug.

So I seem to be already partway through the transition as the mental state suffers considerably more during that period and the body takes care of itself. I know it is a long and sad road ahead of me. But with true friends like Mark and Juni who care for the inner person that they have come to know, I am sure I can withstand whatever demons leap from the shadows on the path to my destiny. I love them both and will cherish their friendship forever.

October 9th, 1989

134 days to live. That's what Dave has. For on my natural birthday, February twentieth, nineteen hundred and ninety, I will go full-time as Melanie and Dave will cease to exist.

I shall morn his passing. He's a pretty nice guy. I think perhaps to celebrate his wake I'll take Melanie to dinner.

Today was THE day: the day that I finally bean hormone therapy again under a doctor's supervision. But this time, it is part of a program. THE program, so this is THE day.

Dr. Smith is the one who signs the letter to Dr. Biber giving the recommendation for surgery. And Dr. Smith is the one who will guide my physical transition into womanhood.

One week ago I was given the blood panel, EKG, and chest X-ray. Today, the complete physical and a reading of the results.

I arrived at the doctor's office right on time at 10:15 am. And after brief meeting with Chris, was ushered into an examining room and told to remove all my clothes. I was given a large paper towel with which to cover the lover half, and that silly paper shirt, that upper modesty should prevail. I considered not wearing the paper blouse as Chris had said it was optional, but relented to my pragmatic side which insisted I might as well get used to this kind of thing.

So I waited alone for thirty minutes.

Finally, Dr. Smith came in and went over the lab results: almost perfect, down the line, except for slightly high cholesterol, which initiated a low-cholesterol diet. AS far as bodily functions my private flirtation with B.C. pills, followed by the Hollywood doctor's "hormone roulette" had not inflicted noticeable damage. In Dr. Smith's words, I was "starting clean".

Chris was called in to take notes, and Dr. Smith gave me the most thorough physical examination of my life, discovering a slightly bent spine, congenital blockage in the left nasal cavity, and "numerous quiescent internal hemorrhoids". Bleech!

I was shown how to do a monthly breast self-examination, and was pleased to hear the diagnosis of Gynacomastia, with "breast buds" of 4cm on the right and 3cm on the left. Dr. Smith seemed to feel that this indicated a sensitivity to hormone stimulation that would lead to substantial growth. YES!!!!

I was also shown how to check for blood clots in the veins of the leg (try not to think about it), and told to buy a "breast pump" (used for lactating women) but to be employed as an enlarging device for my nipples so they would appear more genetic in size.

Finally, I was left to dress and told to report to the doctor's office. I sat myself down on his couch as he wrote out prescriptions for 1.25mg Premarin daily, and one pill per day of Aldactone, a drug which reduces body hair to female levels -one side effect, Gynacomastia, an added benefit.

Earlier in this diary I promised to give a nuts and bolts description of the process as it occurred, so this is the beginning. High on the informative content, but low on emotion. I must interject however, that on the freeway on the way home, I clutched my prescription and drove with one hand, both afraid it would get away and triumphant that I had achieved it.

All medication at the Hollywood doctor's had been provided or administered there, adding to the feeling that what I was doing was somehow wrong or illegal. But here in my hand was an actual mainstream prescription to be honored by druggists everywhere, coming soon to a drug store near you!

So I drove to Sav-on, our major local chain, and boldly presented the note, waiting to savor the moment when I could smirkly say, "No, it is not for my wife, its for ME. I am a transsexual and this is part of my hormone therapy." The female druggist held out her hand for the prescription. I placed it confidently in her palm. She looked it over and told me pleasantly, "It'll be about 15 minutes." She was gone before I realized nothing was going to happen.

So I moped around the store for 15 minutes, killing time, thinking, "Okay, she just didn't see the name or the drug name or didn't make the connection. Wait 'til I pick it up!"

I came to the counter. I said, "Prescription for David xxxxxx." She said, "Oh, yes. Here it is.", plopped it in a bag, stapled it, and handed it across the counter. DAMN! I never get any rejection to overcome to prove how determined I am. DAMN!

So I picked up the breast pump, took it to the front counter and shoved it at the female clerk. Who rang it up and gave me the change. What do you have to do to freak these people out? I give up!

Anyway, I feel good tonight. The dosage is much smaller than before, but much safer. And I am in the care of people for whom the word "care" truly has meaning. I am on the road to womanhood (sounds like a Hope/Crosby movie, doesn't it?). And every day takes me a little bit closer to that far off land I've dreamed of seeing since my childhood. But only 134 days!!! DAMN!!!

October 10, 1989

I have a most startling discovery to report. It is 7:02 am, and scant minutes ago I woke up with an incredible revelation. It is not something I "worked out". It is not a conclusion based on analysis of facts. It is a conviction of such depth and meaning that I do not have it within myself to question it.

I wanna be both.

Very simple, very true. Fact is, after the misery of the "Vegas Weekend", after the joy of kidding around with Mary in the week following, Mark and Juni's acceptance at the support group meeting, the workshop discussion of being "bi-gendered", and the thrill of having my kids grab hold, look up and smile, "I love you daddy...", I have awakened to the realization that I truly enjoy both roles.

My infatuation with the feminine gender has been a pendulum swing born from the so-long suppression of same. And I do not wish to mix my modes. But just as I have discovered that I am Transsexual and Bi-sexual, I have now learned with my heart that I am Bi-gendered as well.

My mother would have had a fit! As for myself, I wonder how I can possibly cram any more "Bi"s or "Trans"s into one person. I certainly seem to be as unique as I always egotistically thought, although not in the same areas I had gloated over in earlier years.

So what does this mean? How can I deal with feelings that are so far beyond the limits of social acceptance as to never have appeared on a talk show? Life my friend Steve always says, "Deal with it!" And so I shall.

I cannot change the way I feel, but I can devise a plan for my life to allow for the greatest fulfillment of my feelings at the least possible cost. So, I shall remain "daddy" and "hubby" here. And I shall fill the role both from duty and enjoyment. I shall relish my time as Dave. But not at the expense of Melanie. I am continuing on the hormone program. And I will probably opt for SRS when the time comes. But even THAT will not prevent me from living both roles. For today, I know and feel with the greatest certainty I have ever known that I cannot be happy as either, I must be both.

October 11, 1989

I've found this great trick for getting my numerous creditors off my back. When they call on the phone demanding payment, I tell them, "Hey things are tough right now. I'm on hormone therapy for a sex-change and the medical expenses are killing me!" They never call back.

But enough of this mamby pamby gender puppy love. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I called Mark and Juni last night. Mark had not yet arrived home, but Juni and I had a long and meaningful conversation. This was the first time I had spoken to her since my "debut" last Saturday, but we only spoke of that briefly. Instead, we somehow got on the subject of the second class status of women.

I'm not sure, but I think it is only because of MY changing status with HER that she allowed herself to open up so completely and frankly, as we had a true "woman to woman" talk.

I've always been in love with condescending attitude of men toward women. It goes hand in hand with not having to go to war, getting doors opened, and having your seat pulled out. But aside from a passing thought, I have never really considered the downside. According to Juni, it's substantial.

She told me tales of sexual discrimination against her in the workplace. Nothing blatant, mind you, but just that her small mistakes were less forgivable than male co-workers' large ones. And that attitude was so pervasive that she actually began to question her own worth. She tells me it is this way for all females in male controlled environments. And since Juni is neither a bitter person nor an ardent feminist, I surely believe her.

As a corollary: I was in the store the other day and a young mother with her baby were ahead of me at the counter with the check-out girl. The mother dropped something and said, "Oh, I'm such a klutz!" The clerk said, "I know what you mean. Usually I'm just an airhead, but today I'm a real bubble brain!" MY GOD!!! They were doing it to themselves!!!

Apparently the years of subtle brainwashing by the media, the church, and daily interactions with men lead to such a completely submissive loss of self-worth that there are very few left with the stamina to fight back and change it. Add to this the chemically induced aggression of males and the tendency toward submission by females, and it's hard to imagine the status quo changing at any time in the future.

So now the question is put: Am I ready for this? Can I accept a station in life where I am continually considered less competent? Where my ideas are immediately suspect? Where any move to better my condition is met with disapproval or outright venom? And what effect will thirty years as a woman have on my own sense of self-worth? I wonder if I can accept this "silent slavery" as a price for satiating other needs?

Big questions, little answers. For now, they will have to remain rhetorical as I surely must experience this aspect of female life first hand to really determine the effect it will ultimately have on me.

October 11, 1989, Evening

Just a quick memory flash: While sorting though the pile of mixed possessions and memories that little the top of the pool table in the den-we-call-our-bedroom, I came across the first tape recorder I ever owned. One of the first portable models ever made: a reel to reel affair roughly the size of two paper back books, stacked, that took tiny three-inch reels and ran off four "C" cells.

The reason for the sharp little prod of the past? At age nine, I used up all my collected allowance to purchase the machine because I wanted to learn to speak female and needed the device to see what I sounded like. I recorded one tape in bad falsetto, then gave up, frustrated. The machine was briefly used for more commonplace endeavors such as recording sounds from around the block, then fell into disfavor and, as far as I know, remained packed away until I unearthed it just moments ago.

Gad, what a life....

October 14, 1989

I'm sitting here at the L.A. Convention Center at a Las Vegas Gambling show, writing this in the open spaces on a racing form with a giveaway pen proclaiming that "Commerce Casino is L.A.'s Friendliest". That may be true, but I hope I never have the opportunity to find out. For I am bored silly, and if not for my determination to keep Mary happy, I could not have been dragged here. But Mary wanted to come, so here I am.

But this kind of discontentment engenders (there's that word again!) a plethora of thoughts about what might have been. Like, am I making this transition to escape from a stifling relationship that I feel trapped in, yet cannot leave as that is not my nature? Pretty hefty thought to start with! Could be, as I often wonder what life would have been if I had married a pretty blonde who shared more of my basic loves - camping, philosophy, arts and crafts, cooking, eating; in short, the development of my current needs may be solely due to a lack of fulfillment in areas at my most fundamental levels. Add to this our continuing financial distress and the slow/no growth of my career, and there is more than sufficient cause to create a "scapegoat scenario" and blame uncontrollable needs rather than my own wants.

And this is driven home by the boredom I feel to the point of anger as I sit behind Mary in this seminar room while she very nearly coos in glee at practicing "Pai Go" poker at a makeshift table. But this feeling is both amplified and confused by the "helpful" drogue standing behind my wife, frequently placing his hand on her shoulder and patting her on the back as he guides her through the maze of unfamiliar rules.

But how can this be? That I am simultaneously trapped and jealous, seeking both my freedom and the status quo? I think I'm full of shit.

********************************

It is an hour later, and I am CERTAIN that I am full of shit. Mary told me she knew I was uncomfortable and went out of her way to hold my hand and nuzzle. And now we have sat through a seminar that I completely enjoyed. And so I have not only learned about "craps" but that I am full of it.

Last night, we were intimate again, the first time in the new house and the first regular "consummation" type sex in perhaps four months. This hiatus was largely due to the mega-dose of hormones I had received from the Hollywood doctor, which made erections both soft and unsustainable. But due to the three week vacation between doctors and the lower dose with the new, both function and desire have returned to near "normal" levels. I had thought that part of my life was gone forever... SURPRISE!!!

However, there is the odd confusion growing from this return of testosterone to my system. For hormones affect both the body and the mind. And every day I have felt more aggressive and actually enjoyed it. Again, the question arises: If I had not remained on hormones for so long, would I have followed this course so far? I suppose I may never know, but even on this low dose I still enjoy the physical changes enough to continue. And so I shall, for now....

October 24, 1989

I've moved my computer to the office, but find that my thoughts are inspired toward diary entries in the evenings at home. Hence, this is being laid down in long-hand: more personal perhaps, but far less frenetic as my thoughts keep tripping over my words.

I've entered a period of surprising calm; the calm before the storm perhaps, but still, and peacefully quiet for the moment at least.

Mary and I have had a truly "adult" heart to heart conversation without tears and in the friendliest of terms. We reaffirmed our love for each other and our sure knowledge that our love will remain all of our lives, even if they must by circumstance, diverge. And yet, we are agreed that I can never be content until I have explored my feelings fully and come to know, in truth, how my life must proceed. So as friends and lovers we have agreed to separate for a time some six months in the future, when I go "full time". For that is truly the only way to experience life on the "other side" and thereby determine if the reality is equal to the hype.

Then, the decision is ultimately left in my hands. Should I discover that my new life is not the utopia I have imagined, Mary will welcome me back with open arms. But should this new role truly assuage the hurt and frustration, we shall remain separated on amicable terms. She is a remarkable woman: To know that I could never be happy until I know the answer and to have the love and courage to risk losing me and with me her dreams, so that I might find peace.

Lately, perhaps due to this new openness, I find myself slipping more into the role of Melanie in speech, body language and dress. As I write this, I am wearing a T-shirt exposing my shaved arms and the shape of my small but obvious breasts. My choice of inflection and even the pitch I strike are creeping ever nearer to an acceptable female level. I suppose that now that a split seems almost unavoidable, I have nothing to lose, or at least no reason to soften the impact of my transition.

And yet, Mary and I still laugh together and tease and cuddle and kiss and make love. We have verbalized our desire to have "one hell of a good time" as long as we remain together. And so far, that is exactly what we are doing.

October 25, 1989

Confused as hell. That's what I am: confused as hell. Every time I get my head on straight I find my body's backward.

So here I am, just getting tearfully, then resignedly used to the idea of separating from Mary. Here I am feeling more and more feminine and slipping pleasurably into the role of Melanie. When out of nowhere I get a call from a production company in response to a recent mailing of resumes.

Only twenty resumes. Twenty of my old male resumes sent because now that I am becoming Melanie, my mind is free to consider career moves instead of just gender issues. I never expected a response, but only wanted to exercise my new-found interest in my craft. I am free to promote my career.

But out of my freedom comes a new prison. For this production company is interested in my work as a director - a MALE director, no doubt. And the lure of fortune and glory gums up the works.

So here I am, halfway submissive with a solid milk chocolate coating of macho bullshit. Old fire-dog yearnings clawing through the gossamer pink flesh of a newly reborn psyche, leaving stiff and lifeless scar tissue smoldering in its wake. Leaving me hurt, leaving me happy, leaving me confused as hell.

October 26, 1989

"Professor, you're full of whimsy!", she says. "That always happens when I eat beans...", replies Grouch Marx in "Horsefeathers". And "full of whimsy" describes today pretty well.

The sky is clear two days after a purifying rain, and a crisp fall breeze gently rustles my clothes, staving off the first frost of fall, even as it functions as harbinger of same. My thoughts drift quietly as the soft white clouds across the blank blue cold warmth of my mind.

Minor lack of sleep has combined with too many cups of coffee in creating a null state of mind where conflicts peacefully cross paths without interference. James Taylor croons in earthy tones that mirror and amplify my gentle feelings of well-being. Questions are emasculated into dormancy as their drive to procure answers fades into the picture-images of happier childhood days of the same season, when gender was an unknown word and only the wind and the sound and the music mattered.

I know that these frozen moments that thaw in the matrix of a balmy day are truly contradictory, yet none of their fervor has substance. I wand to grow old with my wife, raising our children, buying our own home, sitting by the fire and the non-consuming burning of our love. I want to lay in the arms of a gentle man by the same fire and nuzzle against his chest, secure in the knowledge that he will protect me from the winter winds. I want to strike out on my own and find my true love: a girl of music and laughter, philosophy and empathy, and I want to protect HER from the chill.

But today, this rare and beautiful day, all these dreams, hopes, and fantasies merge together in that wordless general feeling of well-being. Somehow these contradictory futures pass through my mind, then move on before they clash with the next. And in their passing leave behind the glowing embers of contentment that endure, to combine with those that supplant them, until this satisfied contentment permeates my entire being, leaving no room for cacophony in the eternal fleeting moment of this day.

October 26, 1989, Afternoon

Is it wrong for girls to like Jules Verne? I wonder what parameters can be set to delineate the differences between appropriate male and female interests. Rosie Grier crocheted and Amelia Erheart conquered the skies. Yet somehow I continually find myself trying to pigeon-hole my feelings, to sort them by zip code and seal them with a cast iron kiss.

I love the Civil War; I mean I really LOVE it. So is that out the door? Can't be, doesn't make sense. But how do I fit in if I won't fit the mold. Maybe I'm just half-way, never to be satisfied and never to be at home.

Amazing the mood swings in two short hours. Sonofabitch!

October 29, 1989

What a day: up, down, and sideways. Right now: watching TV at 7:00 pm with my family; I glance down at my foot - Nike tennis shoes and tan socks protruding from my blue jeans. Suddenly, for the first time, I feel like I am in drag wearing male clothes. Everything looks out of place and feels strange. I imagine pantyhose and heels, and the superimposed image is so right, so comfortable. I realize another frozen gear has given way in my subconscious as I redefine my self-image. And as I sit here now, the edginess continues. So odd, since "dressing" has never been a large part of my TS experience.

Earlier today I suffered a trauma of devastating proportions, largely I suppose, due to hormonal side effects. I lost my composure completely, suddenly overcome with a sadness so deep, so profound, that my future withered before my eyes.

In conversation alone with Mary, we had begun to speak of our impending separation in tangible terms that thrust the concept from conjecture into harsh and terrible reality. I knew then that this next Christmas would be our last as a family. Never again would I waken to the gleeful cries of young voices eyeing the bounty Santa had left. Instead, I pictured myself silently watching old home videos alone in a darkened room on Christmas morning. Then, regretfully placing a gun to my head and ending my suffering once and for all. Blood on the TV screen, clotting in the hot static over smiling faces of times past.

Enraged by this image, I threw my coffee across the room and actually tore the house apart, looking for my grandfather's rifle, while Mary cried in near-hysterics. I suppose if I had found the weapon, I would have pointed it at myself. And at that moment, I might have pulled the trigger. For in that instant I realized that no one kills themselves to die. They kill themselves waiting for someone to stop them.

Fortunately, the gun remains in unknown quarters, and I remain among the living. Mary and I have both recovered, but I, as she, am drained and hurt.

What has been set in motion can no longer be stopped, and "suffering" is its secret name.

October 31, 1989

Exactly 33 years ago to the day I became transsexual. At age three. To be precise, on Halloween night, in 1956 California.

My mother had been divorced for two years and we were living with my grandparents. We had (the week before) taken a car vacation to Chicago where the family hailed from, and most of them still reside to this day. While there, my mother borrowed a dress from a six-year-old cousin of mine for a Halloween costume for me. While my grandfather returned cross-country with the car, my mother and I enjoyed my first plane flight, an old four-engine prop job that rattled and heaved through the night sky. I don't remember much of the trip itself, except something about the small of bacon when we arrived.

As I recall, the plane trip was made specifically so that I wouldn't miss Halloween at home. When the appointed night arrived, the dress was brought out along with an auburn wig with a long braid on each side, that my mother had worn in a "Little Theatre" production of, I believe, a melodrama. I remember being told to raise my arms, and I can still feel the rough cloth of the gingham print dress scratching down across my face.

I told my mother I didn't want to do it, but she would have none of it and fastened a draw-string behind my back. I begged to be let free, but she firmly placed the wig upon my head. I told her I didn't want to go out like this, but she said it was the only costume we had and - no costume, no trick-or-treat. Before we left, the final humiliation was to be a series of black and white pictures taken as a remembrance of "how cute" I looked.

I remember crying as she led me out the door. I don't know how many houses we went to, and only one can I recall. But it remains fixed in my psyche with the clarity of a photograph. I stood on the porch, my mother next to me, and rang the bell. The door opened revealing a lady who looked down, smiled, and said, "What a cute little girl!" I knew she didn't have any idea I was a boy dressed as a girl, but she actually thought I WAS a girl in a cute outfit. I was devastated, and cringe inwardly at the memory of that event to this day.

October 31, 1989 - Other Thoughts

In looking back on that awful night, I suddenly realized that I have not here included the early years of my struggle for personal identity. Since my first appointment with Doctor Jayne, a well-respected gender psychologist, is in three days, and I intend to use this diary as background, I shall endeavor to fill in the gaps. This will be more a chain of thought and out of any discernable order, wherever the Synapse Express pulls into the station.

Age five: I remember walking past the open closet in what was the bedroom I shared with my mother. (It is now my daughter's bedroom.) I glanced in and saw a gold metallic skirt glistening in a truant ray of sunshine, and I remember thinking, "That's so pretty! I wish I could wear that!" But even then, some deep guilt informed me that I shouldn't entertain such thoughts and I passed on.

Age three: I used to play with the little girl from next door that summer. I had a small sandbox in our yard and we would build castles and dig tunnels, endlessly filling our little plastic buckets with the dustless sand. She was three as well, blonde, and cute. She was my first friend. I remember she had a "sunsuit", a legless full-torso playsuit with string-tie shoulders. I wanted to wear one too, and I have seen a long-lost picture of me in my own string-tied sunsuit. (She also used to dump sand in my hair... I would cry.)

Perhaps two years later, a boy my age moved in next door on the other side. All I remember of him was when I reached through the chain link fence to introduce myself, he grabbed my arm and twisted it against the rusty metal. And later, when he had come over to play, he beat me over the head with a baseball bat.

At age seven: My mother had just remarried and we had moved into a new apartment. Times were great, as my new step-dad bout me a cowboy hat like his, and a scarf and boots as well. He was only 22, just 15 years my senior, but he had just returned from an army tour of Japan, had grown up back East, and had many tales to tell. Everything was new and wonderful.

At age eight: My mother started to take in ironing to help with the bills. Her primary customers were neighbors from the old street. On day (I cannot fathom what possessed me to do so) I rummaged through the laundry and found a pair of slacks from a girl near my age I had played with. They were pink, with a criss-crossed lace-up front and, most exciting, NO ZIPPER!

I remember holding them, wondering what it would be like to wear them, what it would be like to be a girl. When my parents were out across the street to the store, I nervously tried them on, adrenaline surging through my system.

There was a strong "high" from the danger of being caught, but there was something else as well: a feeling that to this day I cannot put into words, but as nearly as I can, it was a feeling of contentment, of rightness, that mixed with the guilt not only of the deed but of the enjoyment of it.

I frequented the laundry piles many times that year, until she stopped doing that work and my needs had to be satiated elsewhere.

At some age between seven and eleven: For some months my major hobby was making paper mache breasts from toilet tissue when ostensibly using the bathroom. I would go in, wet and wad up the tissue, making little points for the nipples, then place them under my shirt and admire my profile in the mirror until my mother hammered on the door inquiring what was taking so long. Then I would flush the evidence down the toilet and return to the real world.

At age eleven: I spent the summer days at my grandparent's house, the house where I had grown up, while my parents both worked. I would sneak into my grandmother's room and try on her point contour-cup bra, which would give me a shape bigger than imagination.

One day, when the parents of the little girl who owned the pink lace-up pants were on vacation, I snuck into their house through the fireplace grate in the backyard. I leafed through the father's playboy magazines, getting my first look at naked women, but spent most of my time in their bedroom, trying on the wife's clothes. From underwear to tank top and skirt, I reveled in approximating the look of this attractive woman.

That night, under the claustrophobic press of guilt, I admitted my sin to my mother. She exploded in a rage the intensity of which I had not seen in all my years with her. I cringed as she pulled my underwear down and demanded I look at myself. "Look at it!", she screamed. "You are a boy, someday you'll be a man. Even if you cut it off, you'd still be a man!" Cut it off? The thought had never occurred to me. But after that night, it never left me.

Age eleven and a half: I had been feeling strange things between my legs for a couple of months. I asked my step-dad, "How come my penis kind of moves around when I think of certain things?" What kind of things?" "Uh, things like, uh... POLITICS!" "I see. Well, that's normal. Don't worry about it."

That was the extent of my "birds and bees" speech. Until I was twenty-one, one year before I got married, I thought the "normal" way of making love was "doggy-style" because I had seen dogs "do it" that way. Front to front never occurred to me. When I found out (I can't remember how) I wondered for weeks, "How can front to front be any fun? You can't get a good grip on their breasts. Besides, you have to look at each other and that's too embarrassing." I do remember my mother saying, "Don't worry. When the time comes, you'll know what to do." Sure, ma.

At age nine: My mother caught me with a sex-doll of my own creation: a pair of pants stuffed with dirty laundry to fill out the legs. She was mad again, demanding to know whether it was male or female. "Female!", I lied. "Then why did you use pants?!" "Because I tried stockings and they wouldn't hold straight.", I wept. (This much was true, but I didn't tell her the real reason I switched was because the stocking fantasy wasn't "doing it" for me - whatever "it" was.)

At age 15 or 16: Getting my father to buy me a "bald cap" for Halloween, then cutting it up and taping it between my legs to make me look female. The surge of happiness and shock when I turned around, thinking of something else and caught a glimpse of my naked, penis-free body in the mirror. For a brief moment, the fantasy was reality, until my eyes focused and the poor make-up job became obvious once more.

Another Halloween: When I tried to get my father to buy me a braid of hair and some "spirit gum" to stick it on with, ostensibly to make hairy arms for a monster. Actually, to get the braid so I could have long hair.

Halloween, age twelve: Convincing the twelve year old girl across the street that she should lend me her mom's wig, so I could go as a girl. Then chickening out because my mother's "Even if you cut it off..." speech was still a fresh wound in my memory.

Age sixteen: Dressing in my mother's pull-over dress that fit my taller frame like a mini-dress, then parading in the back yard and darting back in the house. This for several days, then actually going out in the alley behind the hard. Bad mistake, bad timing. The red-neck machine shop guys in their twenties were taking lunch in the alley and saw me. I tried to keep up my composure, but they started cat-calling and then following me. I picked up my pace, and they, theirs. Frantic, I turned the corner to the front of our house, then jumped the fence (quite a sight in pantyhose!) and darted into the house. I remember my heart pounding like a hammer as I peered through the front curtains and saw them looking all around, wondering where I had gone. I didn't dress again for months.

Well, the list goes on and on. From fantasies to realities. Risk taking, but with careful planning. Hidden videos and secret drawings. Clandestine stories penned then destroyed. In the next couple of days I shall add to this weird accumulation of shadows in the attempt to cast light on my psyche.