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Chapter 12  Nine Months Next Chapter / Diary Home / Support Site Home Scroll down in center section to read the rest of this chapter

Transcript from my microcassette recorder:

September 5, 1990

Okay, I'm on my way to work. I'm walking behind these five year old kids. ......

I'm crossing the street to the other side now because I have this terrible image of someone reading me and calling the cops and I get hauled away for stalking them or something, when in reality all I'm doing is trying to get to work. My driver's license hasn't come yet and I don't have any I.D. It could be a real interesting situation.

Okay, I'm crossing the parking lot at the Pantages theatre where Shirley MacClaine is doing her one woman show. And down the street about a block is the Capitol Records building, the one you see collapsing in the movie, "Earthquake".

I suppose I've finally made it, working on Hollywood and Vine. Its amazing what you have to do with your life to achieve celebrity status. Fortunately, the things I have to do are the same things I would do anyway just because they are important to me. I keep harping on this, but it's something I've always wanted: being the center of attention. I'm not egotistic, just egocentric. I don't mind the publicity, and I sure as hell don't mind talking about myself! God, is this self-serving.


I just went to the restroom and suddenly I heard a voice, just like my mother calling me when I was a small boy. I was sure I heard her say, "David". I started crying, and I felt so devastated and alone and guilty for having let her die and not be holding her hand when she did. I miss her so much. I want her touch and her hug. I want a different life.


I'm driving back home, past Warner Brothers again. It's about 11 O'clock at night. Now that I am content with my decision to go all the way with this, I don't feel I have to anymore. I'm actually looking forward to coming home and assuming the role of Dave tonight. And I think I'm going to enjoy it for the first time in a long time: to just going in and be the macho son-of-a-bitch; to play the protector for Mary, to giver her a hug and a squeeze and bluster around the house in a very male way.

There's no way to predict the future. For all I know, after I have surgery, I may end up some day having a double mastectomy and taking male hormones toward being a man for the rest of my life. It almost doesn't really matter. Even though I'm doing things to my body that can endanger my very life, the quality of that life is so much enhanced by being able to fully live one role or the other that I'm more than willing to put up with that risk - the same as I would if I were a mountain climber or a hang glider or anything else. The quality of my life, the degree to which it has improved by the activities that carry that risk far outweigh the risk for me.


I'm almost home and I just thought "Wait a minute! I don't want to go in and bluster like I thought I did: I just want to go in and be me."

September 6, 1990

I really don't know what has happened here in terms of my feelings. I don't feel any tension anymore. I was alone today on the one floating day off I get each week. I did all kinds of chores feeling halfway between Dave and Melanie. Basically, I went around today in boy jeans and a T-shirt, but dressed like that I still looked very feminine because of the hair going down to my shoulders and the cut, as well as the bustline. I answered the phone both ways today. I would answer as Melanie and then go off the line and come back on as Dave, if that was necessary. In the afternoon I was watering the lawn with beard stubble under my chin and a couple came by walking their dog. The man said, "How's it going" and I answered in Melanie voice "Pretty good, thanks". I don't know what they thought of it. The neighbors gave me a lot of weird looks but the funny thing is there's no tension in it.

I went out to the garage and looked at the little room my dad has cleared for me and felt no need to be away in it. The whole time I've been home with Mary this evening, I've felt no pressure in using Dave voice. I seem to have no trouble feeling Melanie either. I don't know. Maybe I've finally reached that amalgamation I've been looking for.

It would've been nice if my life was such that I could switch over completely to being Melanie, and I still strive for that someday But it seems that the pain that it causes to try and go that far at this point with my needs at home is too great to make it that distance. I need a place to stop and rest. Right now, it's comfortable here.

September 7, 1990

I've just discovered, due to a summer allergy, that one of the worst things in the world is a runny nose when you're wearing makeup.


I had a really bad scene at the office today. Some equipment had to be repaired which would have prevented me from working in the morning tomorrow, so Larry asked if I could work half a day in the afternoon and then half a day on Sunday to make up for the lost time. At first I agreed, but then I started feeling really put out. I got very upset and went out to tell Larry I didn't want to do it.

We got in a huge discussion about it and I started feeling like everything that was happening around the office was designed to make life miserable for me. I got so upset, I had to leave the room. I managed to get myself under control and came back to continue working.

But as soon as I started, Larry and I got in the same argument. I started shaking all over, and began to cry uncontrollably. I sobbed for several minutes. When it washed over me, it was like a fog lifted. Suddenly I clearly saw that I had been completely unreasonable. It wasn't Larry that wasn't making sense, it had been me!

That's when I realized I was on an off-cycle of my new dosage of pills and this was a taste of PMS. God! It was like a piece of my brain just shut off! And that's pretty disturbing for someone who has always prided themselves on being a rational thinker, in charge of their emotions. In PMS you can't trust your own thoughts. You might as well welcome me to the ranks, 'cause on this new dosage this is going to be a monthly event.

September 8, 1990

Thought for dialog in a screenplay: "This part of town gives you a real taste for the people... and if you've ever tasted people, you know they leave a ring in your mouth."

September 9, 1990

It's about 1:30 in the morning, maybe a quarter to two. I just got off work with Larry and I'm on my way home. I'm thinking that maybe the real reason I'm doing this is not because I want to be female, but because of the type of marriage I ended up with; the type of mate I ended up with. Perhaps this is a way of creating the mate I wanted.

I'm thinking, "God, I wouldn't mind going out and being male as hell!" I wouldn't mind throwing myself into a new relationship and being a lover, a husband, a companion. The thought of a good-looking woman in her early thirties, thin with a good bustline, red skin-tight dress... someone who's not fake or phony, someone who I can talk to. To hold put my hands on her without fear of rebuff, to know that she thinks of me as a provider and someone who can take care of her... Suddenly I begin to understand what Andy was going through... he has these drives to be female and yet at the same time there is still a very strong male side. Perhaps he's feeling unfulfilled in both areas.

I have to figure out what is really best for me. But I do know that I'm recording this in female voice.


I just came back from my son's Junior High: he's just starting. Its the same one I went to as a boy. The shirt I usually wear to cover up my bustline was dirty, so I had to wear a long-sleeve flannel shirt, and the temperature today was 105! I don't think Keith noticed, but a lot of people were staring at me. Even with my hair back in a ponytail, I'm sure they were wondering just what the hell I was.

I went out to the hardware store later, and even with one day's beard growth, when I went up to ask a clerk about a price he said, "Just a minute, Ma'am." It bothers me when this happens because I know it is just an initial reaction and they figure me out afterwards.

September 10, 1990

Today is the first day of school. And for my kids, since we have moved, this is the first day in a new school for each of them. Keith is going to the same Junior High I attended and Mindi is going to the same Elementary school. Seeing Keith go down the street on his own for the first time was a truly emotional moment. Mary and I both cried together as we let go just a bit to let him grow.


Last night we had Tom S. over for dinner. I started out in Dave mode, but decided to slowly shift into Melanie over the course of the evening to see how Mary would take it. By the end of the visit, I had shifted over almost to where I am when I normally present myself as Melanie. And Mary had not shown any difficulty with it. After Tom left, I asked her about it and she said she was surprised at herself. It was a little uncomfortable to her, but no where near as much as she had imagined it would be.

Later, I shaved my legs to get rid of stubble and just wore a T-shirt around the house. Previously, Mary insisted I wear long pants and long pajamas so that she would not have to see my smooth legs. But this night, she was not bothered by that either.

She only seems to get upset if I talk about it, but if I just do it, she's okay.

September 10, 1990

I had a really bad day today, and I'm very tired of being Melanie. On the way to work, on the freeway, I cut off a car and nearly had an accident. Then, I got cut off by two other cars. When I pulled off the freeway, I got stuck behind a bus and had to wait there until he moved. When he did, I got a whole lungful of exhaust.

At work, I came in to find Bill repairing the gear. It took him until after lunch to finish. We started to work and realized it still wasn't repaired. We had to call him back to fix it again.

Then we spent all day trying to make a scene work and never got it right. Finally, we started over from scratch and STILL had not made any progress by the time I left at 10pm.

Also this afternoon, I called Keith to see how he was doing this first week of school. He started out all excited, but I was using Melanie voice since I was at the office. Almost instantly he got very cold and I felt I had killed a wonderful childhood experience that this week would've been.

I want nothing more than to call him up and be Daddy. I want nothing more that to go to the County Fair this weekend without someone calling me Ma'am. But I can't be Daddy and Melanie too. And here I am, still doing Melanie voice and I don't know why.

September 12, 1990

At work tonight, I took a walk in the hall behind my office. We have the window open back there to let in a breeze. And after hours, when the offices across the way are dark, you can see your reflection in their windows. As I looked at my female reflection, I casually placed my hands on my hips. Instantly I remember a moment from my childhood when I had placed my hands on my hips and my step-father scolded me, saying it was not a masculine gesture and I should never do it again.


I'm driving home. A moment ago, it just hit me: I've been living as a woman for nine months. Nine months!!! I mean, my God! I'm still thinking of this as a fantasy that may someday happen. I've told all my friends; I've told all my relatives, I'm working this way, making a living this way and yet I'm still thinking, "Wouldn't that be neat to do someday." I can't get it through my head that I AM doing it.

September 15, 1990

I'm about to go into the office. I did six hours of electrolysis last night and I'm so red I just have to ladle on the make-up. Even so, its bumpy on top and some of the red still shows through. I've got to meet Dorit, the intern, at the office and I'm going to look just like shit, and I hate that! Another wonderful day of pulling myself up by my bootstraps.


This is a very intriguing position to be in: I'm no longer a man. I mean, I may not be a woman, but I'm definitely no longer a man.

September 17, 1990

Yesterday we went out to the L.A. Country Fair. Its the first time I have gone out with the family in a long time where I didn't fall apart psychologically. At one point, Mary and I were sitting watching Keith on a ride, and Mindi wanted to go on another ride. Mary took Mindi and I waited for Keith. Mary had not been gone for more than a minute when some drunken guy sits down next to me on he bench and puts his arm around me. I moved out of the way, but I could see from the corner of my eye that he stayed there the whole time I was waiting for Keith, eyeing me up one side and down the other. He was really interested and making a very overt play.

Finally, Keith got off and none too soon, believe me, especially since the guy was sitting upwind and his beer breath was all over me. I really got freaked out by that because I was in Dave mode, and even though he saw me as a woman, that's not how I was presenting myself. I can't deal with that kind of attention except in Melanie mode. As a male, it really disturbs me.

So I tracked down Mary and I said, "Hey, babe, I can't deal with this... you stick close to me." But she said, that fact that he came over should at least tell me that what I'm trying to do is working, even if she is still against it.


Another interesting incident happened here at work today. We had 3 by 5 cards all over the office floor to help edit a scene. I was crawling around on all fours, and Larry looked over and asked me to button my blouse one button higher as too much was showing.

September 19, 1990

Another good morning working with Chris on our theory of story structure. Chris came up with a good personality question that reads "Are you happiest when you Can do what you Need to do or when you Want to do what you Should do?"


There's only about two days of editing left to finish the first cut of the movie out of 30 hours of original material, but I'm going to be late because I've just turned around to go back home because I forgot my pills. Because of the work Chris and I have been doing on justification, I realize that my normal thinking is in the Want/Should line and Larry's is inn the Can/Need line. I know I SHOULD go straight to work, but I WANT to go back and take my pills. But I can translate that to the CAN/NEED line to make an excuse to Larry that he will accept. I'll tell him that since I feel such a psychological dependency on my pills, if I don't take them, I won't be able to concentrate on my work and we won't get as much done. I'm actually telling him that my ABILITY to do what he NEEDS will suffer if I don't do what I WANT. And that is the best argument a woman can make to a man.


Women appear greedy to men because they are more often focused on what they want. Men appear insensitive to women because they are more often focused on what they need.


Morality has no place in a masculine society.

September 20, 1993

I had a day of hugs. First, Michael/Nikki took me out to an early breakfast. Michael is a TV/TS who is sometimes on hormones and sometimes not. I had not seen him in over three months. He complimented me on how good I looked, then gave me a big hug and hinted he would like to take me out on a date sometime. As nice as Michael is, I can't quite see that happening.

Later, at the office, Larry asked me to work six days this week instead of five, and the thought of going back to that schedule was so stressful I eventually sat down in my editing chair and cried. Larry came over and gave me a hug and said I didn't have to if I didn't want to, even though he was pressured on the deadline.

I'm getting treated a whole different way here. Even people who knew me as Dave are actually beginning to think of me as Melanie. Now, I'm 37, and I've been thinking maybe its too late to be doing this. Maybe I'm going to get old and wrinkled, and I can see the handwriting on the wall: If I do have any good years left, it can't be that many.

But I also wonder what would've happened if I'd done this at age 18 - how attractive I might have been. And I wonder if I'm attractive now or not.


Nobody treats me like a man anymore. Even Mary has stopped treating me like a man. She doesn't treat me like a woman but she doesn't treat me like a man. My kids are the same way. I'm still Daddy and they still love me, but they don't treat me quite like a man either. I don't know if its the physical or the mental or both.

Its hard for the reality of this to sink in because this has been a fantasy of mine for at least 30 years.


Right now, I feel content. If you take happiness and separate it from contentment (which is being at peace), then now I am as content as I can be. Happy? Well, there are things that make me happy and things that make me down. But I'm always content.

I wonder if my journey will ever end. I wonder if my transition will ever be complete. I wonder if I will ever stop wondering? There might come a day when I pull it all together and have no more questions. Will that be a good day, or will it be the day I die?

September 21, 1993

Chris came over today and we talked about why men and women get married. Women get married to achieve security in the physical world, men get married to achieve security in the emotional world. At one point I broke down and sobbed as I thought of my mother who looked to me to provide security for her in the physical world because I was a man, even while all I wanted was that same security because inside I was a woman.

I cried, feeling that I had failed my mother.


Chris and I have begun to feel a little egotistic because if our theory of the psychology of story structure is really what we think it is, we have solved questions about the human mind that people have sought answers to for ages. To think that we would be the first to discover the truth is too egotistic even for us. As Chris says, he keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. But every time it does drop, it is the next step on the path. The theory doesn't have to change, it just grows.

We also decided today that if this theory is what we think it is, we will maintain control of it to keep others from using it to bilk people out of their money or trying to turn it into a religion. If this is the secret of happiness, then we are going to make sure people have access to it for free because it belongs to everyone.

September 25, 1990

Today was the big event. I'm driving in the car about half a block from my daughter's school. She had a schedule change, and since Mary goes into work early I'm the one who will be dropped Mindi off at school and I did it as Melanie.

This is a day I never thought would arrive: when I dropped my daughter off at school as a woman, just like any of the other women dropping their daughters off.


Late last night we finished the first cut of the movie. After six months of 12 hour days, six days a week, its good to have that behind me. The director was so pleased that he decided to move my editing credit up from the traditional fourth position to third, just behind his credit and the producer's credit.

September 26, 1990

I've really been hiding the last few months. Since I am still Dave at home, I don't go to the store as Melanie, I don't meet any people as Melanie; I just sit in the office and hide. But today, I don't want to hide. I'd much prefer to walk in to a store and have someone confront me about it and tell them the truth.


Why do I want to have surgery? Why? Because everything down there feels wrong.

September 28, 1990

Ideas for two bumper stickers: "Replace Lab Animals with Aborted Fetuses" and "Don't tell me where it itches, 'cause I don't wanna scratch." Those should offend just about everybody.


The feeling of well-being I have been experiencing left me this morning. I tried something new with my make-up and my face wrinkled up like a prune.


I just heard from Larry that we have set our first official test screening of the picture, which will be at the Director's Guild theatre. We'll just be screening the workprint to get opinions as to what we might improve. But the most important thing is it will be my first public appearance as Melanie in front of important people in the film industry. Of course, the major question is: What the hell am I going to wear?!?


I just asked Larry if he thought that (aside from the physical) I had changed as a person since adopting a female role. He replied that I was definitely not the same person I was before. That's very interesting because I feel so much like myself I can't tell if I've changed or not.

September 29, 1990

People can deal with you as a woman and they can deal with you as a man, but they can't deal with you if you are in between. Mindi is a good example of this. She's okay when I drop her off to school as Melanie. And she is okay when I am Daddy around the house. But the other night I had gone to bed quickly and was wearing a tank top under my pajamas. When she saw this in the morning, she asked me to button up my pajamas so the tank top wouldn't show.

Therein lies an interesting question: Can society accept someone who either straddles the line or flip-flops across it? That's what I really want to bust: that you don't have to be one thing or another; you can be part of each, because that's what we really are. Perhaps people are so insecure that they cannot tolerate an individual that brings their insecurities into focus.

I asked Larry his opinion the other day, and he said the public was ready to accept a transsexual, but not someone who kept jumping all over the board. People aren't ready for that. They can't allow that because they would no longer know who they were themselves. To protect themselves from their own insecurities, they have allowed others to dictate how they can act.

But who are you going to allow to be in authority over you? The only person in authority over you is you. Its through your authority that you ALLOW others to have control over you. It's not that they take it, but that you give it.

It's common knowledge that you must conform in order to perform efficiently as part of the corporate whole, and thereby gain its benefits. Anyone who is not following rigid roles is rocking the boat for all of them. Such an individual must be snuffed out. But if you can prove that the corporate whole can function as a conglomeration rather than an amalgamation, then you have a situation in which the individual can flourish.

Still, from the individual's point of view, it might seem you do not want to take an unpopular stand before you have succeeded in popularity, because then you will have many who will stand by you, knowing what you CAN achieve.


I asked Larry if I could get off an hour early today at 9 pm instead of 10 so I could take my family to the drive-in movie. We have not been able to go to a drive-in all summer because of my work. He agreed. I have kind of arranged the timing so that I won't get home in time to change. I called Mary and told her to make some popcorn and be ready to come out with the kids when I honked. This will be the first time Mary goes anywhere with me as Melanie. I hope that if it goes well, it will be the first step to being able to be Melanie at home.

I've been a little worried lately that when the movie is over, I will lose the opportunity to spend so much of my time as Melanie and will backslide. Hopefully, tonight will work toward preventing that.

September 30, 1990

Last night, when Mary came out to the car, the first thing she did was ask if I had time to wash the make-up off my face. I said I had not, but it would be okay because it was dark. She agreed that was true and we took off. This was important because even though she could not see my makeup, conceptually, she knew it was there.

During the drive, I had been speaking as Dave, but as we pulled into the ticket booth I said, "I think I'd better do this as Mel." And she said, "That's probably a good idea - you sort of have to, don't you? So, I did everything in Mel voice, then as we drove into the theatre I turned to her and said in Dave voice, "Piece of cake!" She said, "I'm just going to the movie with my friend and my two kids - that's all, nothing unusual about that."

Obviously, she was rationalizing it, but she was fine with that. As long as she thought of its just us two girls out on the town, it was fine. I slipped in and out of Melanie voice all evening when it was appropriate, testing the waters with her. No adverse reaction that I could see.

On the way back, we needed to get gas. She went in to pay and I pumped the gas. I think that made her a little bit uneasy for us both to be out of the car at the same time, but it was another step.