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Chapter 7  Role Rehearsal Next Chapter / Diary Home / Support Site Home Scroll down in center section to read the rest of this chapter

January 4, 1990

Another year has dawned, and another life. I have made my final firm decision to proceed with surgery. This stems from the growing feeling of well-being that permeates my soul as I make each new step toward womanhood.

On Friday last, I visited my psychologist and breached the subject of by-passing the requirement of one year living full-time to obtain surgery. I explained that my agreement with Mary precludes that possibility. Also, my physical need exceeds my social one. And, from the several sessions we have had, Dr. Jayne concluded that my situation was real and unique, and that in my specific case, such things could be possible.

The glimmer of sex-change as a reality, not a fantasy, began to sparkle within me for the first time. I began to truly believe that it might be possible, and even then, without giving up all that I have already.

This was my first session dressed as Melanie and that also seemed to grease the acquiescence. I left immediately for Andy's for my eagerly awaited weekly overnighter. The evening was fun, but there seemed to be a certain hesitation or distance in his manner. Finally, almost off-handedly, he eased into the subject of Teri, the girl he had just met at a support group. He spoke of her to me more at if he were telling his sister rather than his lover. I could hear in his tone many things: That since I could not commit to leaving Mary for him, he was still looking for a mate. That Teri was his physical ideal. That Teri was looking for a lasting relationship and was available.

I knew my days were numbered.

And yet, no jealousy exploded within me, no great sense of loss. After my cataclysmic reaction of a few weeks ago to the potential of his moving up North, I would have expected more from myself. But I began to realize just what Andy had done for me: He had taken a new-born baby, nurtured her through girlhood, adolescence, and finally into maturity as a woman. I looked back and marveled at how far I had come, how much I had developed in a few short months. And I knew why I was not jealous. I love Andy, I truly do. But for the first time in my life, I am not afraid of rejection, but rather rejoice in the happiness that Andy hopefully will find. He certainly deserves it; as in my own self-centered needs I only recently came to realize how deeply he suffered himself, with loneliness, rejection and self-doubt.

I could never offer him the devotion he MUST have; not as long as Mary will still have ME. I am so deeply grateful to him for the self confidence, acceptance, humanity and empathy he has bestowed upon me, allowing me to grow into myself while safe within his protective arms. I could finally be Melanie without fear of persecution or ridicule, safe within the cocoon he created. And I have now emerged as one human being who changes naught within, although the exterior presentation may swing like a pendulum. I am joyful, I am excited, I am at peace. I wish him all that he has given me.

I returned home on Saturday afternoon and spent another pleasant day with Mary. That night, she hinted that intimate relations were not only conceivable, but highly desirable as well. Picking up on this, I took charge of the evening, and when all others had drifted off to sleep, enveloped her in the same gentle love that I will still be able to provide post-surgery.

There were no complaints.

The following night, we were close again. Tuesday of this week, I went once more to Andy's to lift my hiatus of electrolysis, due to lack of money. We snuggled and cuddled on his bed before the session, but without the threat of commitment: just two close friends who will always be there for each other.

Wednesday brought me to the offices of the aerospace company for my job interview. These are the specific guys who handle all the high-tech, behind the scenes, top secret space missions for the United States Air Force. The position in question was to head up the Audio/Video production department, which was highly prestigious and offered exceptional benefits, both monetary and personal.

Although I came as Dave, of course, there was a lot of soul searching as to whether or not I should cut my longish hair. I could not bring myself to lop off what took so long to obtain.

The interview went exceptionally well, and I have been told I will definitely be called back for the next level of candidate screening. I truly believe I could land this job. But now, I must decide if the security of such a fine salary and the opportunity for frequent world travel outweigh my desire to live the female role in daily life.

If Mary were to allow me to be female at home, I could stand the daily grind of male life at work. But if I were to give up both, I might truly go insane. There is, however, the possibility that I might obtain surgery without going full-time at all. And if this were to be the case, I might must be able to last by knowing that underneath it all, I was as I should be. First, however, they must offer me the job. So I shall push toward that and see what happens next.

I raced home from the interview and changed into Melanie clothes for my three month appointment with Doctor Smith. I had not come to his office dressed before, and wanted to do all I could to hasten his approval for surgery. Also, since I have suffered through the frustration of being on a most minimal dose of estrogen since I have been going to him, I hoped to insure that I would be upgraded to a more substantial level of therapy that very day.

I made myself up and took a final look in the mirror before leaving. Damn, I'm cute!

I arrived at his office wearing a smart new top from K-mart, jeans (only the second time I have been out as a female in other than a skirt: my new confidence taking charge again) and wearing my own hair - no wig. This was my first appearance ever in daylight with my natural hair. My hair only comes down to the bottom of my earlobes, but it looks great!

I passed through the lobby and took the elevator up. No one paid the slightest heed. This is in direct contrast with my trips to the Hollywood doctor's office wearing a wig, where everyone in the elevator read me in moments.

I opened the door and went up to the desk. I said "Hi" to Dorinda, the receptionist, who looked up and returned the greeting, staring intently into my face with non-recognition. Suddenly, she figured out who I was, and her whole face brightened. She was amazed, and I was riding on cloud nine. I sat in the waiting room, and the man and wife across from me accepted me as the woman I presented myself to be.

Chris called me in: "Come on in, Miss". I adjourned to his cubby for weight blood pressure. I felt my confidence and self-pride rise when he asked how I got my voice to change so much? Did I raise the pitch: Or did that happen by itself. I was told that out of all the transsexuals that he has seen in the office, I was outstanding in the feminine voice I presented. (No egotism here!)

This was comforting as I did not want to feel like I was "doing a character" and seriously considered voice surgery, even at the expense of my singing voice, which I am very happy with. But I spoke as Melanie always, when I was with Andy, and the practice has paid off handsomely.

I was then ushered off to the examining room to await Dr. Smith. When he opened the door, I basked in the look of pleasant surprise that lit up his face when he saw me. He literally beamed with pleasure at how well one of his patients was turning out.

He marveled at how calm and together I was, compared to the last time he had seen me. I spoke of my agreement with Mary and the potential job in aerospace. He agreed that my situation was unique and to be cherished, and to that end, would aid in getting approval for surgery. I was stunned. Suddenly the way was clear for my dream to become reality.

And then, he raised my dose as I had hoped he would, and also added a progesterone to cycle for ten days a month. This new hormone will develop the milk sacks and duct system in my breasts, and enhance nipple growth. He told me that when he saw me next, in three more months, my breasts should just about double in size. Wow....!

So here I am today. The reality of surgery closer every moment. The development of my body kicking into high gear. The indecision of weeks past has dissipated like morning fog, as the sun's first rays breach the horizon. What my life-style will be post-surgery I do not know. That is completely independent of the changes in my body. But that I will have surgery is no longer in question. An already, I feel so secure, so right, that I know I will never regret it.

I wore foundation make-up and mascara today and obtained more than the usual percentage of canted stares. Apparently I have achieved that absolute middle ground of androgyny. "You have to give them a clue.", Dr. Jayne has remedied. And I believe she is right. As I waked to my car today, a construction worker said, "Hey, man, how ya doin'?", just to hear if my voice was male or female. I replied in male voice, "Just fine, thanks." There were too many incongruities in my clothes and demeanor to pass myself off as female. But the time will come soon. And then, I suppose I will be full-time anyway, and will perhaps meet the requirements in spite of myself.

January 8, 1990

My first day of full-time.

I came to work today as Melanie and stayed that way until I left to pick up the kids from school. I never imagined it would happen so soon, but somehow all the divergent tuggings in my life converged simultaneously and lifted me like a swell of water up and over the highest hurdle I have yet crossed.

The momentum began, I believe, when I realized that the money for surgery would soon be available. Suddenly, the waiting was over. All that was left was to meet the requirements. So I breached the subject with Dr. Jayne at our last session and with Dr. Smith at my last check up. I felt that some allowance could be made for my situation with Mary, but that perhaps a show of true commitment was necessary to convince Dr. Jayne to support me in this.

That feeling was underscored at my support group meeting last Saturday. I explained my plan to go "part-time full-time" and be androgynous around Mary and the kids. I was blasted from all sides. Even Dr. Jayne herself (who attends the meetings) was less than enthusiastic. I lost confidence and began to truly worry that I would never obtain surgery unless I left Mary. Yet, I held out some hope that if I could show the seriousness of my intent to my psychologist, she might clear the way short of a separation.

For months now, I have feared the actuality of putting it all on the line; opening myself up to ridicule, baring myself to my friends. How would they react to the reality of the situation? What about my voice? My beard? My short hair and tiny breasts? I didn't want to wear a wig and falsies, but my own equipment is still too much under developed and would only lead to being read. And the damn beard!!! No matter what I use the evil thing keeps showing through. How can I do this?!?

The fates must have it in for me, or perhaps I truly have a destiny, for I was acutely aware that the very next day I was to join my friends, Chris, Mark, and Juni at Tom's house to lay his bathroom linoleum, then go out for food and entertainment. This was the core group of all my closest friends, dating back to our days at USC: the five of us have been to hell and back on numerous difficult and harebrained productions, most of which I began and goaded the others into joining. And the thought of being rejected by them was almost an unbearable burden.

And yet, it has been perhaps three years since all five of us gathered without any other acquaintances and would probably be another three before it happened again. I needed to make the commitment. The time was now or never. I decided to go for broke.

I showed up first, dressed in female jeans and a red T-shirt, foundation make-up and mascara. I told Tom I was 90% in Melanie Mode and if he could handle it, today would be the best opportunity we all would have to get used to the transition. My friends could use each other for support. All I needed to do, I explained, was put on my lipstick and nail polish and I would be there.

He was a little uneasy, but when Chris showed up I got my purse from the car, sat on the porch watching Tom measure and cut the linoleum, and painted my nails. My hands shook and I smeared the job so badly I had to wipe one off and start over. Then I took the final step and put on my lipstick. And, miracle or miracles, they handled it!

Shortly thereafter, Mark and Juni arrived. Mark was considerably uneasy at first, but after a few minutes, we were all joking and laying the linoleum together as if I had always been a female member of the group! We decided to go off for dinner to a soup and salad shop, but Mark expressed some concern with the T-Shirt and Nikes. He felt I looked too "in between". In deference to his feelings, I made a call to my dad and had him get a much more feminine blouse and my female shoes, and have them ready at the house for us to pick up.

We drove over, all five in Mark's jeep: me in the middle of the back seat squished in between Chris and Tom. We picked up the clothes and I changed my blouse (braless! - don't look, guys!) while we drove as I sat between them. I guess we're still the same old wild and crazy bunch! Everyone approved of the costume change and we shared a most enjoyable lunch at the open cafeteria. No one gave me a second glance, and I was amazed at how easily I slipped into the female role with my friends. I had worried so deeply about my self-consciousness of using female voice, but when the time came, it was as natural as if I had always spoken that way.

We drove back to Burbank and even Tom kidded and joked, smiling directly into my eyes, letting me know that nothing had changed. Mark, Juni and I adjourned to Chris' place, leaving Tom to get some sleep. Chris made coffee, then he and Mark sat in the other room to talk, while Juni and I engaged in girltalk. She and I are becoming much closer friends than we ever had been. And I must say I am grateful for the acceptance and for the opportunity to be just one of the girls. We spoke of gender, sex, sex discrimination, and career changes. She offered me her hand-me-down clothes as she was about to clean out her closet. That she would give to me something as personal as her own clothing says so much of her acceptance that no words need be spoken.

Finally, Mark, Juni and I went to a movie, "Glory", in Hollywood. They sat me in the middle and the show began. I was amazed. I have never been able to allow myself to become too involved in a picture, for I might lose myself in it and forget to censor my gestures and get read as being strange. But this night, this special night, I drifted deeply into the film, unafraid that my reactions would not match my role. That opening shot of the soldier's head exploding made me gasp, my hand coming involuntarily to my mouth - and it didn't matter! It was okay. It was acceptable. My God, I felt free!

And so, as I returned home last night, slipping uncomfortably into the crumbling shell of Dave mode, I confronted Mary with my decision to dress for work today. This led to a devastating scene of near hysteria, uncontrollable sobbing, and recriminations. Yet, out of this, my spirit rose like a phoenix, and for the first time I knew I had the strength to suffer even the loss of my marriage, if that is what it takes to realize my dream.

With this behind me, I came to work as Melanie today. And, God knows, my beard does show through, and my hair is too short, and I am too bloody tall. But you know what? I don't give a damn! The beard will fade, the hair will grow, and the height... well, two outa three ain't bad! But answering the phone as Melanie, simply working on the seminar I'm writing for a friend & client, simply LIVING is so much better, now that I can be myself.

Now I must be careful to be seen only as Melanie to all my friends and clients. For the only way they will truly accept me in the long run, is if they see only one of me and become used to that at the subconscious level. So the sham goes on: Melanie by day, Dave by night. Even as I struggle in the twilight of my two beings, wondering whether it is dawn or dusk.

January 9, 1990

Well, here I am in front of the computer in the office on my second day as Melanie on the job. Already it feels so natural that I find myself not even thinking about it and devoting myself to my work. In fact, that's why I'm making this rare morning entry: I got to thinking that what I really want to do with my life is write professionally. That was my dream since age 12 when I began my first novel (never to be completed). I have written screenplays for hire, but none, save the one I directed, were ever produced. All my other "published" work consists of scripts for industrial, educationals, and TV commercials. But I am happiest when I can drift off into my fantasy world where words are my friends and we play together. Bleah!!! Is that drippy or what!!!

Anyway, if I am truly to be a writer, I must publish. And what better way to break into that closed arena than to publish this journal. I had always intended to do so, but now that I am truly Melanie, I feel the creative drive more strongly than ever before. And so, this entry: my first foray into the life-style of Melanie: Writer.

January 10, 1990

Day 3 of my new life. It's a lot different than I expected: different because very little seems to have changed. Ninety percent of the time I just sit here in my office and write. And when I am thoroughly engrossed in a project, I am completely unaware of what I'm wearing. I suppose if I worked in a high-profile job like a regular business office I might notice more significant changes. Indeed, it seems almost ridiculously obvious that the only time things will change is when I interact with people. Sitting here alone has no potential for difference.

Oh, I DO feel more comfortable dressing as a woman, and it was a kick using the Ladies room today (and having to ask Tom B. to get some soap out of the Men's room because I can't go in it anymore). But aside from that, Its the people that make the difference.

For example, yesterday, I told the secretary down the hall. She was very warm and understanding. In fact, later in the day, I had my door open and I heard my assistant tell her, "I found your note on the door about the films to transfer to video." She replied, "Oh, that's okay, I already gave them to Melanie." Now if THAT isn't a kick, getting called by my new name out of my presence, I don't know what is!

And then, today, Robert, the 6'4" ex-marine down the hall, stopped in to borrow a screwdriver. He had not been informed and just walked in cold and saw me as Melanie. I can only imagine what he thought. I had been dreading this particular encounter form months now. But he surprised me. He said, "Well, if you've thought about this and you think its right for you, who's to say any different." Wow! So, he borrowed the screwdriver and brought it back later with information about some office supplies we are going to be getting.

I feel the obligation to take a moment to ask a favor of you all out there. Thousands, no, MILLIONS of people are suffering untold mental agonies every day because of a secret need that they are afraid to express. And many live in that agony all their lives and die with, or even because of it, for fear of public ridicule and social exile. I have been lucky; I have not yet faced these things, although I suspect I will before the game is out. But the freedom of unleashing the hidden hurt is so cleansing, so joyous, that I urge each and every one of you to have tolerance toward others whose inner pains are no fault of their own. Give them hope, give them kindness, and even if you cannot bring yourself to support them, at least give them the space to grow, and treat them as equal members of humanity. For indeed they are.

Off the soapbox, and back to the duties of the day. I thank you.

12:06 pm

Oops! A quick update... I'm beginning to feel trapped in the office. Even though m make-up covers the beard pretty well, it does not cover the beard SHADOW. That is, the pigmented skin in those areas where hair grows. So whenever I step out, anyone within 10 feet of me can see that I don't look quite right. Add to this that my hair is still only down to the bottom of my ears and that I'm nearly 5'11", and I get read frequently. So every day I use Fade Cream to lighten the shadow, but until this is accomplished, I just don't want to go wandering around outside. I figure 3 or 4 weeks before the Fade Cream will work, so I guess I'm stuck here for about a month. Rats!

January 12, 1990

Well, here I am at the conclusion of my first week living as Melanie. And somehow it seems as if nothing's really happened. So far, no outright rejection to my face. And even a couple of incidents of real support. But inside, I don't believe I feel any differently than I did last week. There are times when the feminine feeling flows over me like a cleansing bath, and other times when I feel like Dave in drag. Those are the worst, not because I feel uneasy about myself, but because I wonder if this has been worth all the turmoil to get here. As the song says, "Is that all there is?"

I don't feel depressed, mind you, or even purposeless or disillusioned as I might have expected. Instead, I guess I just feel disappointed. I remember the times I had with Andy, and was expecting the same kind of feeling every day as Melanie. Part of the problem is that I have very few people to relate to here; I basically work alone. And my assistant, Tom B., keeps calling me "Dave". Now, THAT bugs me! As for Nicki, who still sleeps in the office next to mine, she (as Mike) has been ill all week, and I have barely seen her. Even when I do, Nicki avoids calling me Melanie and treats me most of the time like a guy anyway. I don't know whether it is jealousy, cruelty, or oversight. But whatever the motivation, it doesn't bolster my morale.

I feel good. I feel comfortable (as I have said). But still I hide in the office, as I know that my make-up and mannerisms are not yet up to snuff. Perhaps when I feel confident enough to venture into the "real" world, I shall find that certain feeling I have been expecting.

Last night, I permed my hair. Don't EVER do this! You need eight arms and the grace of a gazelle. The results are okay (sort of) but you can be sure that next time I'll just fork over the thirty bucks to have a professional do it!

Now that last line, "thirty bucks". Should I have said, "thirty dollars" and sounded more feminine, or left it for the best word impact. I really don't know.

When I was on the mega doses with the Hollywood doctor, I felt EXTREMELY feminine. And my resolve to see this through was intense although not unwavering. But now, I almost have trouble dredging up the drive to take even one more step forward. I find it strange that just as I am overcoming the final obstacles to my life-long dream I should get lethargic about it. Maybe it's just the lack of sleep I've had this week. Again, I just don't know.

I see Dr. Jayne today. I hope that she can shed some light on this. Maybe it's just a phase that everyone goes through who travels this road. Or maybe it's the fateful warning sign I have been awaiting for so long that asks, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" And it asks in a male voice.

I suppose I should give it all time. As people begin to sublimate my new image and status into their working patterns, THEN they may treat me in a manner that will make it all worthwhile. But for now, I'm sorely disappointed.

10:58 am:

Feeling better! A friend called and left a message on my answer phone. When I called back he mentioned he would be working a project all day. I feel just a tiny bit guilty, but I sort of weaseled myself into coming over for company. I'm so damned nervous about going out on the street when my beard shadow shows through that I just hide up here. But now, I get to spend the afternoon with someone who knows and accepts me anyway.

So suddenly, I feel feminine again. And it's all worth it again. I guess I just have to get to the point where I KNOW that no one is going to see any beard shadow, and when THAT happens, I'll be able to face the world. Because then, there will be nothing out of my control that will give me away. Every day I'll get better and more passable. But for now, God, just the thought of being read a block from the office with nowhere to run sends chills up my spine.


I just realized the reason I wanted to go over to my friend's is because I am attracted to him. God help me! I am realizing that the reason I have made male friends is because I am attracted to them in an intimate way. I guess I've been in some kind of love with these guys for ears and never known it.

Wait a minute! I just remembered a suppressed fantasy where I changed bodies with Mary and seduced another friend of mind. In the fantasy, I got an ice cube from the refrigerator and held it on my nipples to make them stick out so that he would be turned on by me, as Mary. And I used to fantasize about marrying another friend who would be a good physical match. At this moment I don't remember any fantasies about the friend I am going to visit, but who knows what else may turn up.

This is incredible! Five months ago I actually believed I had never been attracted to a man. In truth, I have been attracted to scores of them. I look back at a former client who sets my heart spinning just to think about his slim, muscular body and gentle manner. So what is this? Am I remembering feelings I had at the time that have waited in the wings for so long, or am I only now manufacturing these feelings around the memory of someone I never cared about at the time? Gets damn complex....

So what do I do now? I can never relate to these guys again if this gets out, yet here it is in print. Am I just a homosexual afraid to fess up? I don't think so, but lets explore that.

All my fantasies have been with me as a woman, never as a guy. When I signed onto my computer network and went to the "sex" room to get picked up, I always went as a woman looking for a guy. The one time I did go to the gay area, I presented myself as a transsexual and enjoyed only the female aspect of it. When with Andy, he made it clear that homosexual love was okay with him. But I just couldn't! And the one time he lifted my panties, I got so embarrassed I cried. But this morning Mary got in the shower while I was dressing, her full breasts swaying as she passed me. I made it clear to her that I was VERY interested, and in fact, felt substantial erotic arousal.

But at this moment as I write I feel just like Dave. But does that mean I'm gay in drag? I don't think so. Maybe Dave always was female inside and no male personality ever existed there. If that is the case, then feeling like Dave inside should be okay, because I don't have to make a personality transition, only an expression one.

So the esoterics are staggering. But at the moment, all I want to do is go over to m friend's and get rolled in the hay. Won't happen, but excuse me for thinking.

January 13, 1990

Today, I met at the home of a film producer I had known as Dave. After having dealt with him for over a year while editing his promotional video, I have learned to be suspicious of his motivations with every word that leaves his lips. He is a most pleasant man in his seventies, but everything he does is calculated several moves in advance to benefit himself and no one else.

During my year of freelancing, on and off, for him, I allowed myself to be continually renegotiated into severe financial hardship. I truly believe I was never invited to his home during this period, because he did not want me to be aware of the fine condition in which he lived as it would weaken his bargaining position.

In any event, the promotional reel we created has struck paydirt and he has closed a deal for seven million dollars to produce a motion picture for a Japanese businessman. He asked me to be part of his production.

My normal outlook with anyone else would be to accept that offer as a compliment from someone who wishes to work with me. But coming from this fellow, I can only wonder what he hopes to take me for. He has known of my pending sex-change for some six months now, and has dealt with the concept without conflict. But now, one of his conditions for joining the production is to only present myself as a male.

Strange that for twenty five years I have wanted to be in feature films. For thirty years I have wanted to be female. And now, I must give up the career of my dreams for the life of my dreams. This decision was not reached without tears, anger, and self-pity. But after all the inner turmoil I suffered reaching the point where I could present myself as Melanie to friends and business associates, I cannot imagine giving that up for anything. The cost has been too great.

I had always said that I would rather empty wastebaskets at 20th Century Fox than be president of another type of company. But now, I must admit I would rather be a waitress at Harry's Diner than a male director of feature films. It's that simple. Being female is more important to me than life itself.

I could have accepted his offer and left my family to work as Dave in the day and live as Melanie after hours. But my family is also more important than my career. So, like the Duke of Windsor, I abdicate my career in favor of those I love.

Friday I went to lunch with my friends and visited Tom for a couple hours before leaving for Dr. Jayne's. The freedom and well-being I felt with them is so deeply and basically strong that all else melts against that primal heat.

And so, it is with some sadness, but no regrets that I will tender my intentions to the producer. Ironic that after years of struggle I should inherit a house, be offered a forty five thousand a year job, be offer Associate Producer on a major feature, and be offered my first feature editing job all in the same month, the month my grandmother died.

But the agitation of these few weeks has cleared dust from the air and left a pure and simple view of my priorities. One, I WILL be female, whatever the cost. Two, I will remain with my family as long as they will have me. Three, I will pursue my career to the best of my ability. Once this became codified in my mind, there were no more decisions to make. I merely need to hold each choice up to this template and see if it works.

I know now the strength of my resolve by the magnitude of those things I am willing to give up. Becoming female is truly the most important thing in my life, and I doubt (after the events of this month) that I will ever question that again. So now I shall order my life, in view of these priorities, to do what I must while cutting my losses to the minimum. And you know, I really feel good about it all.

January 14, 1990

This is the year the unattainable has become possible. From home ownership and an end to debt, and the opportunity to write full-time without concern for finances, to career advancement and fulfillment of my desire to be female. Instead of being swarmed by an onslaught of impending disasters that must be fended off frenetically in order to merely survive, I am now faced with a plethora of choices, each of which has goodies attached, but each of which comes with a price. And so, I begin now to sort out my options, get my life in order and attempt to select those situations that collectively will bring me the greatest happiness in the long haul, or at least the greatest peace.

I have recently read in a seminar I am researching that you don't get if you don't ask. This, of course, can be taken to the extreme, as evidenced by some I have known who use this technique to take all they can get. But if applied in moderation, one should ask for what one truly wants and see what happens. After all, if you don't tell them what you want, how the hell are they supposed to know?

And if they will not give you what you want, you can always compromise. You may be satisfied with less if they offer something else in exchange. It is most important, however, to have previously determined what the real minimums are that would be acceptable as a working situation, not just in the heat of negotiation. If you are presented with a choice which you have not previously considered, ask for time to consider it. If that costs the deal, well, better that than committing to an agreement that you cannot ultimately abide.

I must be female in the days, if I am to have the stamina to be Dave for Mary in the nights. I wish I could present myself as Melanie all the time, but for now that is impossible. But I must be wise enough to realize that if I were to take the job with Fred as Dave, it would cost me my marriage or my sanity. So I shall ask. I shall present my case simply, not as a pleading or a negotiating point, but a point of fact: that if I cannot work with him as Melanie, I cannot work with him at all.

Now, this may seem rash in light of how long I have struggled to become involved in feature film production and the staggering price I have paid to achieve that end: the all-night editing sessions, financial disaster, subjugating myself to inane work with tasteless and abrasive producers. All these things have I endured for the opportunity to make moves; to practice my craft. But in reality, I no longer believe that any of that crap has edged me even marginally closer to my goal. In fact, the reputation I have established may very well have crushed what opportunity may have existed.

So, I do not feel as if I am giving up a damn thing. For I would only be one of three underpaid Associate Producers, and that and two bits will get you on a bus in Hollywood (or would have at yesterday's fares). I would have to obliterate the precious and vulnerable new personality that is emerging for another game of "run around", with no guarantees of future career success. And then it would be another stupid project or excruciating position followed by another and another until I lay upon my death bed still wondering what it would be like to truly be female. Well, NO THANK YOU!!! I've done enough of that in the last thirty years to last two lifetimes. I've paid my dues multi-fold and gotten nowhere. 'cept here. And now that I finally AM here, I damn well intend to stay for the show! So bring on the dancing girls and break out the wine. If the spirits are willing, I might just join them on stage for a ragged jig before the curtain comes down.

January 15, 1990

An interesting transition was made at home today: a major step that may actually make it possible to live these two lives. I had an appointment with the director I'm editing the film for, and as with all my business associates, I am only appearing as Melanie. This is, however, Martin Luther King's Birthday, and the children are at home. So the logistics of getting ready, getting out of the house and getting back were staggering and risky at best.

Well, I managed that aspect okay, but the psychological strain of trying to maintain the Dave persona in the morning, slip within minutes into Melanie and then right back to Dave again, took an incredible toll. By the time I returned home, I was nervous, depressed and snappy. At that moment I believed that the Great Compromise could not be sustained.

But Mary was so supportive and understanding, so determined to keep making it work, that I decided (in desperation) to take a gamble. I allowed myself to act and react naturally with her and the kids for the first time. I neither censored nor altered my responses and let my voice find its natural pitch (which is higher than Dave and lower than Melanie).

I fully expected that Mary would lose it completely, complain (justifiably so) that I had broken our agreement, and demand that I leave. But she never batted an eye. In fact, we shared a wonderful day together just putsying around the house.

I have discovered before that the shift is mostly internal, and that the external manifestations of that shift are so subtle as to be overlooked by the casual observer. I suspect that if one truly had a male personality and became a female personality the differences would be substantial. But if one has always had a female personality, albeit hidden and suppressed, one will not have been able to shift too far from one's true self and maintain the sham so long.

I mentioned this to Mary at the end of the day and she said she had noticed the change in voice, but not particularly any change in mannerisms or expression. And so, it seems that I no longer have to go through that excruciating, time consuming, draining shift. I can be the real me inside wherever I am, however I'm dressed. And this unity of spirit, this continuity of being means I can be Melanie now and forever no matter what I am called or what sex I am perceived to be.

I had felt that my two presentations were both moving closer to center, eventually to meet in the middle. I know now that task is nearly complete. And then, only then, has the real journey ended. For a change of sex is merely a physical thing. But to become a complete human being is only in the mind.

January 16, 1990: One Hell of a Day

I began my second week of full-time today. Over the weekend I had been experimenting with make-up foundations, much like an alchemist might stir ingredients into a pot. Everything I had previously used would either leave beard shadow squinting through or pucker up my face like a mummified drag queen. But today, I stumbled upon the perfect combination: Joe Blasco foundation set with Dermablend powder. And two hours after I started applying it, I closed the door and drove to work.

It's been raining all day and it poured on the way to the office. Once there, I was greeted by Tom B., who has finally overcome his frustrating habit of calling me "Dave" when I'm dressed as Melanie. Now he just calls me "man". As in, "Hey, man, how's it going? Well, I guess it's still an improvement, but it's hard not to get dragged (no pun intended) out of character, and that hurts.

Anyway, I realized that the time had come to tell the producer outright whether I would work on his feature or not. But to actually commit to turning down the break I have waited twenty four years for was not an easy task. Nevertheless, I called him on the phone, and told him the situation, all the while hoping he would change his mind and employ me as Melanie - alas, no! I arranged to drive the script over to him so that at least he would see me as Melanie once for my own satisfaction. (Maybe if he saw how presentable I was he would drop that requirement).

I arrived at his home and handed off the screenplay. He said, "Let me take a look at you." I turned 'round for him and he said, "Not bad!" But he still accepted the script back and said good-bye. He is, however still interested in the screenplay I am writing for a horror film.

The magnitude of my decision did not hit me until I was on the freeway again, driving home through the rain. Suddenly, I realized just how much I had given up. And I thought of my mother, the anniversary of her death but two weeks away. I remember she told me that everything would be okay when I grew up. "When you get married, you'll know what to do. It'll come naturally." I wanted to tell her that it WASN'T okay. Things hadn't worked out. Life was all wrong and the future was black.

For the first time since she died, my eyes filled with tears for her, which dropped unrelenting upon my mascara as the rain smeared the dust of my windshield. At that moment I needed her so much. I needed to be held and comforted. But I also wanted to grab her by the shoulders and demand to be answered, "Why? Why did you do this to me? I thought you loved me." To this day, I don't know how much of my need springs from her guidance and how much was simply out of her control. I suppose I'll never know. But the love/hate emotion (for it is ONE emotion, not the combination of two) remained with me as I parked in front of my house.

I ran in to get some moral support. I called Dr. Jayne and got her answering machine. I called Chris and got HIS answering machine. And I called Mary, and she was in an office full of people and couldn't talk. But she did call back to tell me that although she would've preferred the career move and the money, she also knew how much it meant to me. And if I felt I could not handle Fred's condition, then she figured I knew myself best, and she could do nothing but support me. God, what a woman!

Eventually, Dr. Jayne returned my call, as this was a most serious situation and she was genuinely concerned. Chris, I left no message for, so he hasn't called back, as one might expect.

But the day was not over yet. Oh, no. Not by a longshot! I changed my clothes and picked up Mindi at school, stopped for pastries, then came home. My dad opened the door to inform me that this was an early day for Keith, who had called and was waiting in the principal's office to be picked up late.

I raced into the house with the baked goods, tossed them onto the table, then bolted to my car and drove off to salvage my boy. On the way home, a police car came up behind me and flashed his lights. I pulled over and rolled down my window.

The young recruit stepped gingerly around to my side, darting the alert eyes of a new officer who has not yet seen it all. He asked for my license, which is when I realized that I had been holding my wallet under the bakery box and had tossed it on the table with the cupcakes. So he asked for my registration, which I don't carry in the car. In fact, all I had was my proof of insurance in the glove compartment, but nothing to prove I was the same person. Besides, the car is still registered to my aunt and mother.

He spied my briefcase in the back seat and asked me to open it. I complied, revealing my purse and a pair of my pointy black shoes. He said, "You have a woman's purse and a pair of women's shoes in your briefcase?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Why do you have a purse and a pair of women's shoes in your briefcase?" I said, "My son shouldn't hear this.", and told Keith to cover his ears. But the cop was understanding and motioned me out of the car to talk privately.

We adjourned to his curbside office and I gave a brief but concise course in transsexualism and my involvement with it. He may not have seen it all, but he must have seen enough, for he was only mildly taken aback and more curious than anything. He took down my information, cited me for a lapsed registration, and asked several questions about transsexualism for his personal edification.

Finally, confirmation came in by radio, and I was returned to the road. Now, I admit I've been stopped once before for a lapsed registration, and I admit I've been stopped once before without my license, but I have never been stopped before for a lapsed registration, not had my license, not had the registration, and been forced to reveal my transsexualism to a police officer with my son in the car. Now, did someone have it in for me or what?!?

Anyway, I guess I just attract that kind of situation naturally. But the really frightening thought is that things are probably going to get weirder before they get better.

January 26, 1990

Things have settled into the pattern of having no pattern. Confusion runs rampant and anarchy is the order of the day. Hour to hour, sometimes moment to moment, my mood, feelings and resolve shift in never ending alterations. I don't seem to be able to get a fix on where I am, like a sailor on an uncharted sea on a black and starless night.

Mostly I feel good; specifically, I feel content, at ease. But this can be when I also feel male inside or female and regardless of how I am dressed. My internal settings appear to be completely unrelated to the social role in which I present myself. So strong male attitudes may course through my veins when "portraying" Melanie, and female notions was over me as Dave.

There are times when I will smile at something on the radio while driving. And that smile will alternate between feeling like a male and female smile. I wonder if that concept is too hard to truly grasp for those who have not experienced it. I certainly would have been at a loss to understand it just weeks ago. But the male smile is confident, self-assured, enjoying the moment but also feeling in charge of it. The female smile is soft, cute, amused, pleased that the radio man was kind enough to bring enjoyment to my life. As a male I expect to be entertained. As a female I am grateful for it.

But not quite. The emotions are so basic that they defy words.

When I first began appearing as Melanie, I felt the same as when I was Dave. I looked different, people treated me differently, but I saw the world through the same eyes. As I loosened up and allowed myself not only to express female attitudes but to give up control, permit them to move within and even control me, I actually felt like a different person, almost a split personality.

As I increased my time as a female, these two sides separated until they had little common ground. The internal shift took as long as six hours after the external one before I would be comfortable. And trying to speed the process was actually painful, almost excruciating. But during these last three weeks as Melanie all day and Dave all night, these two halves, these pendulum swings have moderated and moved back toward center. Melanie's voice, mannerisms, body language and attitudes have returned from the far reaches of exaggerated, almost parodied ultra-feminine. And Dave's persona has left the solid rock of ersatz macho behind. Both partial personalities are approaching each other, meeting in the middle to join and become one complete human being.

I am no longer afraid of my feminine side, nor ashamed of my maleness. For both are truly me. And only by allowing all facets of my personality to express themselves can I ever experience the esoteric freedom of self knowledge and self expression.

Each of us carries within a complete human being. And we all possess aspects that society labels "male" and "female". So we suppress great chunks of our delicate psyche, upsetting the balance and living in constant tension to protect ourselves from ridicule, lest our secret side be found out. Only by risking rejection, only by mustering the courage to face exile, can we obtain true inner peace as a unified human being.

January 26, 1990 - Evening

Something the hell is going on. I mean PHYSICALLY. Nearly all my entries have been about the mental changes, internally instigated or hormone produced/enhanced. But today, my God!

I got hungry today. And yesterday. And the day before that. In fact, I've been hungry ever since I started on the progesterone that Dr. Smith just prescribed for me at my last visit. This is the pregnancy hormone found in also in birth control pills that triggers development of the milk ducts and nipples. But it has also increased my appetite to the point that I am eating continuously.

I had been 167 pounds two years ago, and brought it down to 150 recently. I have only put back about four of those pound since the progesterone, but every gram has gone straight to the breasts. Today is the day it showed up.

I am typing this sentence with my left hand while I run the fingers of my right hand over the swollen contours of my left breast. (No kidding!) And the fullness (although minuscule by female standards) makes it feel the size of a cantaloupe. I looked in the mirror a few minutes ago, lifted my T-shirt, and WOW! Would I get stares if I went topless at the beach! I may not look completely like a woman yet, with the beard shadow and just the start of breasts, but I DO HAVE BREASTS! I mean, years of fantasy is truly becoming reality. I may not yet be anywhere close to being a woman, but I am, in fact, no longer a man. That much is visibly obvious to the world.

My hair has finally reached past my earlobes. And as I look at my hairless arms and my long fingernails, I cannot help feeling female. Up to this point, the entire persona has had to be created internally, with little real base to support and nurture it. But now, tonight, I MUST feel at least somewhat female, because that is what I partly am.

Now, perhaps, when I lose these four pounds again (and I will!) there will be a recession of my new bustline. But even then, it will only be temporary. For in the space of a few short months, growth will be so substantial that breasts will be a permanent fixture of my physical being.

And out of all this comes a feeling of justification. That now, I somehow have the inherent RIGHT to act female. Before, I could express myself only by force of will: throwing concerns for society's approval to the dogs and acting as I chose. But now, having grown the equipment naturally, not by implant, having developed the calling cards or I.D. badges of womanhood, I am now entitled to the benefits thereby bestowed, allowing me to think, act, and respond as a female with full social acceptance.

Of course I am aware that society will accept me to a considerably less degree than a genetic female (and if that's not understatement, what is?) but perhaps it is that I now accept myself. Perhaps now, I finally feel that I can ALLOW myself to be female in lifestyle. Regardless, the strength of the correctness that permeates my being is triggered solely by the new mounds of flesh upon my chest. And as long as I possess them, they give me justification to behave, act, and most importantly, feel female.