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Chapter 9  Tinsel Town Next Chapter / Diary Home / Support Site Home Scroll down in center section to read the rest of this chapter

March 2, 1990

The USC mafia (my friends from film school) took me out to lunch today in honor of my birthday. I had been dreading my first appearance with Steve, who has always withheld any peer approval for my creative talents. "Why don't you let me direct the feature and you just produce it. You don't want to embarrass yourself." Steve is an acid joker and blatant as hell about all things to do with sex. For example, when I first showed up at his office after he had heard about my plans, some three months ago, he pulled open my jacket to see if I had boobs yet! So I was expecting he might give me a vibrator or something equally gross. And of course, it would be in full public view and with a flourish! But instead, he gave me a funny card and a lot of support. In fact, after lunch, I mentioned it would take a long time to really fit it, but he shook his head and said, "You're coming along..." Chris gave me a purse-size spray perfume - "Obsession" (the good stuff!). Tom had set the whole thing up, and they all chipped in to cover lunch. Thanks, guys. You make a girl feel wanted.

By the way, Steve's card had a picture of a knock-out foxy babe on the front holding a dumbbell against her bare chest. The inscription read: "No more Ms. Nice Guy!" And Steve had added: "Dear Melanie, a lot of us have the fantasy of going to bed a man and waking up a woman. You just had the balls to do it!"

March 2, 1990 Evening

Just a brief note: On my way out to the car to pick up Mindi from school, I heard the next door neighbor and his teenage son, who was visiting, arguing in raised and heated voices whether I was a boy or a girl. I smiled to myself all the way to the school.

March 3, 1990

My first support group meeting since going fulltime. This entire evening was different than any other support meeting I had gone to, even beginning with getting ready. Instead of the nervousness and hassle of earlier trips, I spent the day working in the yard. When meeting time approached, I took a shower and got ready in a leisurely fashion that, even at that comfortable pace, took only a fraction of the prep time of my earlier visits. The practice of the last two months made everything routine. In face, it didn't feel like "dressing" at all. Previously, this outing was an event: a rare occasion to venture out as a female, and one of the few times I could do so without fear of ridicule. But that is my everyday life now, and I just felt like I was getting ready to go see old friends..

When I arrived, there were more new faces than I had seen in a long time, engaged in the classroom section prior to the general meeting. As I walked to the kitchen to wait for the "rap" session, I could feel the eyes of many of them, not sure whether I was male or female. Again, that most exhilarating feeling of knowing that it didn't really matter. I was just ME, and there my responsibility ends.

When my turn to speak finally arrived, I shared the events of the last two months. For the first time, I felt no need to impress my peer group. I truly wanted to share what had been a most fulfilling journey. But during my recitation, I noticed that several of the old-timers (regular attendees) were exchanging glances and smiling. I felt no nervousness, but wondered why. I finished and, as is custom, entertained questions and comments. Immediately, a retired MD, who attends with his wife, commented that never in the years he had been coming had he seen anything like it. He said he did not want to offend me, but until tonight, he could only describe me as "fragmented" personality. He said I was flip-flopping like a fish out of water. Manic, depressive, fickle like the wind. But tonight, suddenly I was together, calm and self-assured. He said he could hardly believe that I was the same person.

I was dumbstruck! I knew that I had felt a subtle yet powerful shift in my outlook over the last few weeks, but had no idea that this internal unification presented such obvious changes in my outward attitude. Others in the group joined in with similar comments. I felt as if I had come home to myself. I don't know if this is the final stage in my quest or just another plateau on the way to the peak. I don't even know if the peak can be reached, or for that matter, if it exists at all. But if this inner state serves as the base camp for future exploration, I know my pain will never return, for whatever storms I may encounter will roll over me, as the bedrock of this new "life foundation" anchors me and gives me shelter.

Classification is up to them. Half may see me as male and half as female at the same time, in the same room, but it doesn't change my personality. I am myself and have no obligation to either conform to anyone else's roles or off an explanation. Some will be my friends and some will turn their backs, but they won't run away in droves. There are an astounding number of people - strangers, who not only accept me for what I want to be, but cheer me on as a champion of individuality.

Indeed, Chuck told me today that it would be easier for my friends to accept me as a weird male than the ultra female I had first attempted to be. And I know that in time the hormones and the practice will alter my physical presence in ways that will shift initial classification more and more frequently into the female sphere. Whether I will ever pass successfully is not only unknowable at this time, but unimportant as well. For I am simply being me. And if I am seen as gay, foppish, female or just plain strange, I no longer operate from a base of fear. I no longer have to cover up and pretend. My hiding days are over and all is right with the world.

Week of March 4th 1990

A slew of little things permeated the week like those little stones that get caught in your socks, and no matter how hard you shake and how sure you are they dropped out, when you put them on again the stones are still there. Actually, that doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense and really has nothing to do with what I want to write about. But it sure is a knockout opening line.

Since things have settled down to a routine, I will frequently condense great globs of time into a single entry, thereby avoiding something or other.

On Sunday, March 4th, I met with Fred and the representative of the Soviet Union about the production of Silent Night. Fred had asked me to "dress as a boy", but he didn't say anything about make-up! I gave the whole issue a lot of thought: Could I deal with backtracking after making so much headway? Sure, why not! 'Cause in effect it's not backtracking at all, but another rung of progress ("another rung of progress"? What the hell is THAT!) What I mean to say is, my acceptance of myself is so secure that I don't need external triggers. But the, we've been over all of this too many times before.

So I wore a tight T shirt to show off my small but growing shape and used mild and neutral make-up: obvious, but not blatant. The meeting went well. I wowed them both with technical competence and an open and friendly manner. I neither tried to enhance nor disguise what I am and how I act. I simply was myself. The meeting went so well that another was scheduled the next day.

When I arrived, Fred told me he had explained about my situation to Leonid, who said it was no problem as long as I didn't mind some jibes from the conservative Soviet people. I had prepared a four page dissertation on the technical needs of the production, thereby securing my position as Technical Director of this five million dollar feature and also weaseling into the position of Second Unit Director as well. Again, not bad for a transsexual from the Valley!

Diane, the Hollywood agent who recommended Fred to me for editing in the first place, a warm and caring lady if ever there was one, stopped by to join us for dinner. I had been wearing my hair down in an androgynous style, but during the conversation, found occasion to brush it back behind my ears in the feminine style I wear at work. Diane has known about me for some time, but we had not seen each other in months. So while Fred and Leonid went in for xerox copies, she and I sat in the car exchanging girl talk.

Fred took us to a coffee shop for dinner. He can accept what I am doing, but personally only wants to relate to me as Dave. With my new found inner peace, I found it amusing that every time he referred to me in male terms, several heads turned among the diners. Apparently he is more secure to be in the presence of an extremely feminine man than run the risk of misreading and discovery. But as I told him, "You can call me Peter the Great, just give me the Second Unit Directing job.!"

On Thursday, Mark and Juni came over with some old film equipment and supplies to add to the collection I am trying to sell. Juni also brought another huge load of clothing she recently weeded out of her closet. There were a number of great tops that really filled out my sparse wardrobe.

Later, we went out for dinner at a local restaurant. Juni and I sat on one side of the table, Mark on the other. Just the reverse of how it used to be. Let me say now that I always have admired Juni as one of my favorite people and Mark as incredibly empathetic. And those feeling have only been enhanced by their loyalty and friendship throughout my transition. But now, I feel a special comraderie with Juni that I had not experienced before. We talk, we laugh, and frequently Mark (as the male of the trio) gets lampooned as Juni and I discuss the ignorance of Women's Issues of the Average White Male.

Poor Mark. He has such a big heart and his feelings runs so deep. He has said that he feels as if Melanie has murdered Dave. I'm sure he really wishes things were not as they are. But Mark, Dave is a part of Melanie. All that I was I still am. I am more, not less. And your friend is alive and well and honored to still be your friend.

The waiter took Juni's order, then asked me, "What will you have, Ma'am?" As we waited for the meal I offered to Mark that he could call me Dave, if it meant that much to him. I no longer needed outside triggers to get in touch with myself. But he felt confined, trapped. He said, "How can I call you Dave after the waiter called you Ma'am?"

I had no answer as to how to deal with that. Although I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed by any of this, many such as Fred and Mark, although supportive of me as a friend, are uncomfortable with the nomenclature. Tom B. and Chuck, my Boy Scout buddy, both cannot bring themselves to call me Melanie or refer to me as "she". If they only knew the fulfillment that runs through me when I am accepted as I want to be... If they could only see into my soul and sense the rightness and necessity of this path... But no. I think the problem is not unacceptance of me, but unacceptance of how this path would apply to themselves. They ask themselves, "Why is he doing this?", and find within themselves no answer. But that is as it should be, for this course is wrong for them.

I suspect that more than anything, these good friends want to protect me from myself. The frustrating fact is that they will never be able to fully appreciate the inevitability of my transition since they do not personally carry the seeds of it within. But PLEASE, guys! I am not you! And I never was you. And I never was your kind. I am a different animal altogether. But believe you me, these steps have not come lightly nor unconsidered, but have been taken at great risk to happiness, sanity, even life itself. And if I had discovered a viable alternative for myself, I would have taken it.

I have spent the last thirty years pondering this, daily, and have only recently settled into confident self knowledge. Let's give the girl a break here and let her be what she wants to be, no regrets, no apologies.

I care for you all and take pride in the honor you bestow through your friendship. I hope someday you will come to understand that Dave would TRULY have been lost if he had tried to live in a way that was right for you. The greatest service you can offer him is to let him be her.

Friday, March 9th 1990

A small note: Larry called to fill me in on the mediation of his feature that I am editing. He took time to tell me that he enjoyed working with me, not just as an editor, but as a human being: someone with whom he could develop creative ideas and share pleasant conversation. You know, its the little moments that make it all worthwhile.

Sunday, March 11th, 1990

Mary and I shared a wonderful weekend of house redecorating. We have such a pleasant time together that I yearn for the day when I can truly feel secure that she will not find it necessary to leave me.

At the store today, we bumped into Jack and Louise, Mary's only remaining close-blood relatives. We hardly ever see them, so we talked for some time, blocking the aisle and incurring the wrath of several itinerant shoppers.

It turned out that Jack had come to my office sever times last year and had Tom B. make video copies for him. As we parted, I mentioned to Mary that I didn't know what to do if he should show up and see me as Melanie. She replied, "How often do I see them?"

I wish I could understand. Since the death of her mother and then father, she has had only me and my family as relatives. But with the instability of our situation in recent months, how can she banter her relationship with the last two of her clan with such nonchalance? Do I take this as a sign that in her own mind she has cast her lot with me for better or worse? I do not know. But I DO know that should such be the case, I will do my best to honor that commitment with respect for the magnitude of its meaning.

Monday, March 12, 1990

Juni called today to ask some business oriented questions regarding a project she hopes to launch. I enjoy so much the openness and acceptance of her manner. In fact, I feel it goes beyond that. It is almost as if she had no knowledge of my former role and I was her female friend from day one. And lifted by that unbelievable openness, I shall strive to be the best female friend she has.

Tuesday, March 13, 1990

A day full of business as usual at the office. Except that "business as usual" is most unusual for me. Only last week I had barely begun to venture out of my hiding place when clients were around. And twice I had occasion to speak with two of them. But today, Tom B. had class, leaving me alone to watch the shop.

I was terrified.

Foisting yourself on friends is one thing, but what about strangers? I know (when I'm honest with myself) that at this point in my transition I am as readable as if I had a neon sign at any distance closer than ten feet. So, what would they do to me?

First was an editing session with a beautiful girl, an actress: blonde, sexy, earthy. And me, the guy in drag (shit!). She didn't ask my name as we went to work, and I didn't offer it. I knew she MUST have me pegged, GODDAMN - she HAD to have me figured out. And yet, my lack of embarrassment, my new inner peace, held strong. I acted as I chose, spoke as I wanted, gestured freely and without pretense. I was wearing a female blouse and full make-up, and I knew she had me figured out. But her manner was so open, her conversation so friendly, that I began to doubt my conclusion. Maybe she DIDN'T know... but then what was she - BLIND?

We laughed, we created, we enjoyed the session. In fact, I enjoyed the session more than any other of its nature that I had ever handled. What freedom! Tom returned about two hours later as we were finishing up and asked her about the session. She told him that HE (referring to me) had done a great job. Obviously, its safe to assume that she had me figured out! But, WOW! The inner peace was still there! And, if anything, I felt even freer to act as I chose, knowing there was no pretense to keep up.

Another order came in and I handled that without a thought about how I was perceived. I answered several phone calls, identifying myself as Melanie. ANOTHER order came in from one of the two clients I deal with last week. Again, not the bat of an eye!

Now in fairness, the women clients so far seem completely unaffected by this, and may even find it a natural desire ("Who'd want to be a man if you had a choice, anyway!") But even the male clients are accepting. Now how do you figure that? All those years, all that suffering, and for what? I could have been me a long time ago and probably had MORE friends and a BIGGER career than I have now! Weird world we live in, ain't it?

P.S. A Brief Note: I cracked some awful joke to Mindi this afternoon, while we were alone in the house. She raised her arms skyward, imploringly, and asked, "Does anyone here understand this man?" Indeed.

March 15, 1990

A letter to Tina, who I met through a gender community computer bulletin board:

Dear Tina,

Great to hear from you again! Sorry to be so late in responding, but I'm usually busier than I care to be and keep putting fun things off while my nose skins raw on the grindstone.

You mentioned about the "unstoppable force" pulling you in this direction. I've often considered whether another mate, a more successful career, or more monetary security would have altered the path I have chosen. To be hones, I just don't know. When times have been good throughout my life, my TS tendencies have all but disappeared, only to resurface whenever the dark clouds rolled in. Each return was stronger than the last until after last year, the worst year of my life, there was no recession even when the weather cleared. I guess once the genie is out there is no, "back in the bottle with you!" Just be careful insofar as that the care and feeding of your "unstoppable force" will make it a stronger and more voracious animal!

Since I wrote last, a subtle shift has brought incredible peace to my life. After about six weeks of full time, suddenly one morning I woke up and realized I felt better about life than I had in years! I realized I had jumped into fulltime just to meet the requirements of surgery so I could have the "justification" to act as I wanted. I have always been a terribly insecure person and covered up for it by being the leader or center of attention. But the insecurity remained a painful cancer gnawing through me, ravaging my mind and soul. And "justification" was the key word of my existence.

If not for the requirement of fulltime I am convinced I could never have done it. But the need to have the "authorization" to act female by surgically obtaining the proper equipment was so strong that I just jumped in and did it. But, as I mentioned, at about six weeks I realized that I truly enjoyed this lifestyle. And over the three weeks since then, many other gossamer but powerful changes have moved through me. I realized that I no longer minded being read. It wasn't like before when I just numbed myself against the embarrassment or thumbed my nose at society, picturing myself as some sort of rebel. No, it was just a lack of reaction to others attitudes toward me. I simply was ME. And THAT required no justification or explanation.

I have yet to suffer a bad reaction to this face to face. And as I have progressed, I only get read in close contact situations. Surprisingly, these close encounters are the most satisfying as since I am read as a male, I don't have to worry about slipping up! I can just be as I am now, moving toward femininity but with a need for more "flight time" before I get my pilot's license. I actually think people find it easier to deal with a weird male who doesn't unrealistically pretend no one has read him, than with someone who bullheadedly maintains the sham. A close friend told me the other day that she most admired the fact that I had done all this "unapologetically". Great word! It doesn't mean being obnoxious or flaunting your decision but simply accepting it yourself. Then, others are not embarrassed and join in supporting you.

To this end, I have told my friends that I no longer "required" them to call me Melanie. I reaffirmed that I preferred that, but I count entertain any form of address they felt comfortable with. Strangely, one friend felt that I put it all on his shoulders! We were out to dinner and he said, "How can I call you Dave, when the waiter just called you Ma'am?" But also, it has allowed me to take the movie job. The executive producer insists on calling me Dave. But I come dressed in the same clothes with the same hairstyle and same make-up (minus lipstick) that I wear at work and look just as "Melanie" as I ever do. So we go to the restaurant, he calls me Dave and half the heads in the place turn. But THAT he can deal with. He'd rather be seen in the presence of a "weird male" than get caught contributing to a sham if I should get read.

Sometimes, I'll be in a room with several people. Some know me as Dave who is becoming Melanie, some accept me in my new role, some actually think I am female, some read me as a male in female clothes, and others just see me as the male they've always known! The fun part is, that none of that changes ME! Inside, I am the same person, they just classify me differently. And that is neither my responsibility nor my job. I can and should just be myself and let others make their own decisions. They can accept me or go away. Not with vindictiveness on my part, but the simple knowledge that there are billions of people in the world, and if some choose not to associate with me (and I've not run into that yet) there are a lot more who will!

So all in all, the internal "shifting" that used to take up to six hours when changing roles, never occurs at all any more. Rather, I put on a different "persona" as my psychologist calls it. Just as if I would act differently in a suit and tie than blue jeans and T-shirt. The inner person does not change. He or she simple expresses himself in a different dialect, as it were. In that manner, I am fulltime even if called Dave, Daddy, Husband, Melanie, he, she, or it. And a damn good feeling it is too!

Sorry to hear about the career setbacks you've suffered! That seems to be the norm for most everyone connected with the entertainment fields. I guess there are only a few truly good places to hang on the media tree, and none of the other monkeys want to get off!

I understand about feeling better for everything we've gone through! I hear some people say, "I wish I'd done this years ago!" Not true for me! If I had made this choice at any time earlier than I did, it would have torn me apart. It nearly did anyway, but at least I had the certain knowledge that I had done all I could in the male role. There simply were no other achievements that mattered: nothing left. But now... Ah, now! My interest in my career has rejuvenated with a vengeance! All the creative areas that had dulled and grayed are alive again in Ted Turner Technicolor! My interest has reawakened, rested and alert and ready to carry me through the second half of life.

And my personal relationships have sparked anew! Stagnating friendships are growing once more! The time spent with my kids is ever more precious, and I truly believe that Mary and I are falling in love again! We spend so much quality time together these days; decorating our new house, going to buy plants for the yard, selling Girl Scout cookies for our daughter, even simply watching TV. Mary may never understand that as much as she is disturbed about my transition, without it our marriage was over. The inner turmoil was so great it would have shortly torn us apart. But I am well aware that only by ceasing to shackle great chunks of my personality in the dark recesses of my mind have I been freed to be hers, completely and honestly. And in the long run, that is the only kind of relationship that can last.

Finally, I am glad to hear about your girlfriend. I have learned that you can get through anything if you don't have to do it alone!

Take care, think twice, but don't hold back! Write soon!

Happiness, Melanie

March 16, 1990

In spite of my growing confidence in social situations, I feel, with justification, that I have been hiding from real life encounters. I walk to work from the parking structure and deal with clients in the office. But when I interrelate with the public at large it is always in the company and protection of friends. I feel ill at ease in passing myself off as female when I am on my own. So I have avoided banking, shopping, xeroxing, ordering food and a myriad of other activities since going fulltime nine weeks ago.

But today, I broke that barrier. And, in typical Melanie fashion, I just jumped in and did it. It turned out that I had a number of chores that absolutely had to be done this morning before I picked up the kids. But I also had to go into the office for a couple of hours. My only options were going in as Melanie, then switching, or showing up at the office as Dave. Or, just doing the chores as Melanie.

So, off to the insurance company I went. And then to the paint store. Bought invitations for Mindi's birthday party and returned to the office. I passed without difficulty except to the clerk I was directly dealing with. And even then, I am not sure whether I was read as a male in drag or a woman with a complexion problem.

Part of the success was due, no doubt, to the obviously real bulges beneath my tank top. If the beard shadow made them think, the breasts made them think again. I suppose none of these people who were close enough to wonder ever did figure it out with certainty. And that is alright by me. For if I present myself as female, even these questioning individuals will play it safe and play along. Better to treat someone as they are advertising than to offend someone by making a mistake.

So, my confidence is at a new high. My estimation of ultimate success has risen . Even should things never get more passable than this, it is enough. Even now, it is enough.

March 17, 1990

We reached a new (not ANOTHER new!) agreement today, Mary and I. Actually, it refines an earlier agreement. Or should I say it redefines a previous... What the hell is she talking about! (You may well ask!) Mary and I decided that I would no longer attempt to second-guess what she would or would not feel comfortable with in terms of my dress and behavior around the house. Rather, I will try whatever feels good to me, and if it bothers her, she'll say so. Makes it (believe you me) easier.

Tonight, we went to the supermarket. Every aisle, Mary would hold me or tickle me or say something to inform the shoppers of that corridor that I was a male. I do not know if this was intentional. And I do not know if it was to hold on to me, to set back the clock, to avoid embarrassment, or simply because she felt intimate the time. But I DID notice that it made ME uncomfortable. I kept feeling that the shoppers were perceiving me as a female and that they saw us as a couple of lesbians. Now why on earth I, a transsexual, should be embarrassed at being classified as a lesbian is beyond me. Perhaps I think of it as false advertising. Or perhaps it wakens other, even new and better and kinkier yearnings that I would rather not explore. In any event, that which I am most loathe to explore should be that I most fervently pursue - or some such nonsense!

March 20, 1990

Am I getting brassy or what? After all this time struggling to feel at ease in public, today I went out like a 50/50 bar. Half and half, Yin and Yang, alter and ego together again. Tight (but male) T-shirt, female everything else, hair styled, but no make-up. You see, I just got this but in my bonnet that I didn't pass as male very well anymore. In fact, its beginning to embarrass me to try to pass myself off as a man! So I figured, okay then... And I went to the store as a push me/pull you.

Read as female all the way until I stood in line and they got a good look at me. But, I mean, like, wow! The femininity ripples outward from the inside and glows around you almost irrespective of one's attire. (Almost, but not quite!) Anyway, I was a little nervous. Actually, kind of a little itsy bitsy bitty bit nervous. That is to say, half a tad. But not much. Not nearly so much as I used to be just presenting myself as a male when I thought I was one! So there, and so on, and shoobie doobie doo....

March 22, 1990

Now here was neat day! Juni has been talking to me about the computer animation career she always wanted to have. And we have been discussing a partnership between the two of us to open a company for same. So, she called me up the other day and invited me along to a computer animation convention.

Now, this was great! What a fantastic way to overcome the final tendrils of my ever weakening fear of dealing with the public! I drove to Juni's and Mark's apartment in Santa Monica. We had coffee, then Mark went off to work and the girls went off to the convention.

Juni drove (she has the better car) and we chatted all the way of the hour trip. My what a wonderful person she is! As I have mentioned, she has always been one of my favorite people, but in my new position as equal member of the same peer group, I appreciate her even more. I have several incredibly strong friendships with the male friends made in my earlier persona, but it seems my closest friendships are to be with women.

We shared on equal footing, firm footing on common ground. Strange, how my insecurity stayed at home. I felt so good about myself that it hardly mattered if I was read or not. In fact, I began to wonder what being read really meant. Some time ago, Dr. Jayne had asked someone at my support group "What do you mean, "read?"" At the time, I thought it was the stupidest question I had ever encountered: a word game that had me wondering if I should change psychologists! But now, I asked the same question. And in actuality, being read consists of two parts: being identified as a male in women's clothing, and feeling male because of it. And THAT, dear children, is what transitioning is all about.

You can't get read if you don't collaborate.

We strolled the aisles, two businesswomen on the prowl. You know, I gotta admit, life as a woman in our society (for me) is one hell of a lot better than life as a male. The food attendants are just a little bit friendlier, the salesmen just a little more gracious. And all this without second class status (thanks to the trickle down effect of women's lib).

Now you women out there pull back your hackles! I am well aware there is a lot of downside to being female in America (or anywhere else for that matter!) But up to this point, I have not yet encountered it. So PLEASE, for the moment, let me revel in the upside until nature's insatiable quest for equilibrium balances me out.

Side note: There were perhaps a thousand people traipsing the halls. And of those, only fifteen or twenty gave me the slightest sideways look all day. And of those, half were men checking out the bustline. Ah, what a great day!

And you know, it's a different feeling ENJOYING passing, rather than CRAVING it. Mostly, I was able to put gender issues completely from my mind and enjoy the displays and demonstrations. I have begun on my new life of renewed interest in just about everything and waning concern for the gender matrix in which these things reside. But, God! What a feeling it is finally to be free!

March 23, 1990

I met with Brian and Tim today to discuss their production of a documentary about me. Strange, how I felt no uneasiness at appearing as Melanie before Brian for the first time. I suppose that stems from the consistency of my inner feelings these days. I no longer "do" Melanie. I AM Melanie. All day, all night, waking or sleeping, I am as I am, who I am, and present myself as. So there is no routine to engage, no checklist to verify, no telemetry to monitor. There is just me and I no longer have trouble expressing that.

We went to Shakey's Pizza for lunch and outlined our individual conceptions of how the project should proceed. It is my major concern that this piece present transition as only one aspect of a multi-interest life: a bump in the crossroads between an unsuccessful, unsatisfying existence and a fulfilling one. But I don't have to tell YOU that! Not if you've read this far!

We considered the propriety of simultaneously releasing the documentary (an objective view) with this journal (a subjective treatise). In this manner, each would help promote the other as another aspect of the story and boost sales which I hope will propel my personal finances to the point that I need never work again and can fritter away the days engaged in self-serving, no-productive pandering. Doesn't it thrill you that by purchasing this book, you have in some small way contributed to such a grand venture?

After lunch, I introduced the Filmmakers Two to Dr. Jayne, as I had a session scheduled and they wanted to secure her cooperation. Which they did. After conscientious examination of the project.

My session was most satisfying. The same peace that has lodged within me, filled my thoughts and reactions. No struggles, just surprises. And gratifying. Especially when Jayne changed the subject abruptly at one point and explained that she had been looking for stereotypical female gestures or use of voice and found none. I smiled. I guess it finally comes from the heart.

March 24, 1990

It started with the alarm clock, my Saturday did. Blasted out of bed at SEVEN (expletive deleted) O'CLOCK on a SATURDAY MORNING!!! Pranced through the shower, waved bacon and eggs over the fire, rousted my son and hunted my uniform. The day of the CUB SCOUT HIKE had arrived!

One by one, these eager future mountain men crossed my threshold and sat transfixed in front of the Nintendo, hoping the whole thing would be delayed until the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles destroyed the Technidrome.

But, alas, nature's call could be heard even over the lawnmowers and traffic, and the Turtles were left to fend for themselves.

We arrived at Griffith Park. (For those of you unfamiliar with L.A., it is the West Coast equivalent of Central Park: A small island of semi-natural hill land besieged by the surrounding urban blight.) Fixing our basecamp in the parking lot at the Greek Theatre, we pressed on into the wild, encountering such fierce creatures as joggers, strolling families, and lizards.

It was a strenuous enough hike for a group of 4th and 5th graders, rising one thousand feet from the valley floor to the top of Mount Hollywood, elevation 1650 feet. We stood in the silence of the wind on the flat plateau at the summit and gazed into the haze, gulping the city-scarce rush of communion with nature.

I enjoy my contribution as a youth leader. I've done it for five years running. I hope that my personal solution will not prevent my future participation.

As soon as we arrived home, the Cubbies went home and Mary and the kids loaded into my puny Toyota and dashed down the freeway toward the L.A. County Fairgrounds where a pet show was being held. My guts twisted into familiar patterns as I found myself uncomfortably trying to play the role of male for kids who don't know and wife who doesn't want to see all the while aware that I was being mostly seen as female.

It was a fascinating pet show, but I myself felt animalistic, not sure whether I was a fish out of water or neither fish nor fowl. I spoke of this to Mary on the road home, and we agreed to talk later that night.

Instead of hiding from the discussion, this time she joined me in conversation without flinching. I explained that I felt like I was still hiding; that home was the only place I couldn't be myself. She told me that she was SURE that we would make it. She was amazed at her own tolerance and at how her tolerances have broadened and grown so quickly. There was no doubt in her mind that everything would work out.

Later that evening, our daughter complained of a pain on the back of her neck. Mary pulled back her hair and discovered a tick, burrowed halfway into her scalp (Yeach!) We ended up taking her to the Urgent Care Center to have the pesky thing removed.

Then we went to bed.

March 25, 1990

Mindi's seventh birthday. We ran around all morning gathering food and supplies for the party. Shortly after Grampa returned with the kids from church, Mindi's friends began to arrive. Seven kids on Mindi's seventh birthday, the first in this house - the same house in which I celebrated my seventh birthday, the last until I returned for my thirty-seventh. A lot of lucky numbers there.

I'm truly getting tired of covering up for myself to spare "the kids, who don't know" (as I refer to them with people who will be calling me at home). But summer vacation is only ten weeks away, and both children will be switching schools due to the move. All new friends and a three month buffer period to get used to the New Improved Daddy. So, wait I must. But less cautiously, day by day.

This evening, I went to Larry and Victoria's for dinner. We were planning a deal to merge my video duplication company with their production company, thereby injecting needed expansion funds into my company and assuring its continuance during my freelance absences.

I was tickled to be courted in this manner, and thrilled with the possibility of meeting new people at their company as Melanie: the start of a new social life. But when I returned, Mary objected strongly, feeling that the business should stay in the family. It was hard to temper my desire for an expanded social existence with prudent business sense, but eventually reason won over, and I agreed to kill the deal.

If not for her qualms, I am sure I would have concluded the arrangement, as I am sick of devoting my time to a technical, non-creative endeavor that runs me more than I run it. But I am actually, in some odd way, relieved that I will maintain complete control of the operation, good, bad, or indifferent.

March 31, 1990

At this moment, perhaps the most unnerving feeling I have ever experienced. For about half an hour now, I have sensed something different within myself, something unlike any previous sensation. And just moments ago, I verbalized this sub-cognizant rumbling to Mary. I told her I felt that I had become a different person.

Sure, I am aware of the purely physical changes. And I had been told that after some time on hormones my thought patterns would actually alter in deep, subtle and permanent ways. But I had assumed that my inner peace and self-acceptance were the shifts I had been warned about. I was wrong.

How can one quantify change except through comparison to things unaltered. Only in reference to the static can the motive be calibrated. My past is fixed. And my thought patterns - not first level logic-based attitudes or even amorphous emotions - but actual ROUTES OF THOUGHT remained nearly constant throughout my memory. If there had been any previous shifting, it was so slowly achieved that it went unnoticed from day to day, much as dust is never seen to fall until its presence is discovered by the casual stroke of fingertips across a tabletop.

But what I feel now is not gradual, nor is it lost in the background. What I feel is that I have become someone else. As I pen these words, the inspiration still comes from deep within, but it wells up from strange quarters. The currents and eddies of my mind spiral in patterns unfamiliar. My personality is not what it was. I have been lost in the process of becoming me.

The pictures of my past play against my memory retaining clarity of event. But the MOTIVATIONS, the driving force that compelled my actions has become obscure or indiscernible. I can understand, but no longer FEEL those attitudes and urges. It is as if someone had described them to me.

It is so odd to think that all the while I have been swirling in the vortex of change, I had not realized it had carried me downshore and deposited my SELF on a wholly different beach. And that is far more significant an alteration than any of the pronounced intrusions violently thrust upon my psyche.

How do I feel changed inside? What gives up the clue? What convinces me that I am not who I used to be? For one, my priorities have shifted. I still enjoy and am still drive toward the same things. But now their order of importance has been scrambled. My likes and dislikes are the same, but topsy turvey. If I had forged a weighted list of items dear, my list would surely now be greatly disarranged. And more: my philosophy, my code of ethics, my concept of the mind of God, have all been melted in odd distortions, each as valid as that which it replaced, but none resembling the roots from which it sprang.

No - even the roots are not common to both! It is almost as if my mind had been diced like so many cubes of Jell-o. And while I slept each night, some phantom chef replaced a few with an untried flavor. Now that the refrigerator door has finally been opened, the concoction itself bears no resemblance to that which preceded it. And the mold that grows in the cracks is of a wholly different kiln.

My metaphors grow weary in the frustrated attempt to convey the unexplainable. It FEELS DIFFERENT inside. I don't think the same. I cannot even remember what it felt like to think as my former self. Dave is now as distant to me as if he had never been a part of me. His actions clear, his drive comprehensible, but I share no "oneness" with him. We have split and the line that might have been his to travel has been stunted and sealed forever.

Do you sense some anger at the loss of his future? Some emptiness from the pain of that which I have been denied? Tears fill my eyes as I type these words, as if I were grieving for a friend who has passed on.

Just days ago, I had reread my forward to this journal, "So Dave must die in order for Melanie to live." And I laughed to myself at how wrong I had been. Now I cry at how right I was.

I am happy to be me. I am at peace; I am better off. But I grieve for Dave as I did my mother. In truth, he is no more. And I shall not meet him again in this life. And I want to hug him and see his smile and thank him for the ultimate sacrifice he made in giving me life. But there is only the air to hug. And the smile in the mirror is no longer his. So I must live now with not only the loss of someone closer to me than anyone else can ever be, but also with the knowledge that I am responsible for his death.

I miss him....