Raised By Wolves
Part Three: Across the Great Divide
Sunday, November 3, 1991
Sixty-seven days and counting.... Last week we signed the papers to refinance our home so I could raise the money for surgery. We had to accept a much worse interest rate to get the loan. Mary told me that she didn't know if we would be able to keep the house with the higher payments, but at least I would walk out female. The money will come through on Tuesday, so the last major hurdle before surgery has been overcome.
I had my final session with Dr. Jayne, my therapist, on Friday. She tells me everything is in order and she will send a positive evaluation to Dr. Biber. On December 5th, I'll have my final pre-surgery appointment with my hormone doctor and then he will forward his recommendation as well.
I know a lot about myself now: not in terms of "quantifiable" things, but in terms of "qualifiable" things. I know a lot of how I feel; I know a lot of how I think. It doesn't really matter WHAT I'm thinking about or WHAT I'm directing my feelings toward; it's the process of HOW I go about that feeling - how my thoughts form and where they go after I've thought them. This is the substance of my contentment with myself. I always expected that after all this I would feel like a woman, but I just feel like me.
I wonder, as I stand here, what its like to think like a man. To me, it seems like that would be so unfulfilling - to be evaluating the things around you by what you could do with them or because they gave you an ability to accomplish something, rather than just looking at things in terms of how they touched your life and to keep around your things that have special memories because the feelings you had around those objects become attached to them, and every time you see them you experience what that was like.
I think of the guy who has the game ball that he won in high school by catching the uncatchable pass. He's got that football on display in his office. He doesn't think about it much. Its there. He may have put it there to show people he was a hero which gives him some power or credibility. But, when he's alone in that office. Things have quieted down and nobody's on the phone, and it happens to catch his eye, he stops for a moment and he picks it up and turns it over in his hands. He feels the texture: he remembers. Suddenly, he's back there running with that ball coming over his shoulder, straining, struggling: wondering if he can accomplish it, unsure of his ability to do it, hoping that he can pull off this miracle and be the hero. He can almost feel it touching his fingers again, grasping it for all he's worth, landing hard into the dirt of the end zone. He re-experiences the thrill of victory, the knowledge that everyone had seen how good he was. And that to him is the most emotional he'll ever be.
To a woman, that's how she thinks all the time. Its the rare moment when she desires to step out of that and deal with practicality per se. That's only driven out of necessity for survival, or for her family. Aside from that, a woman who is making decisions about her house - where things should be placed and how resources should be spent - is not thinking about practicality but is thinking in terms of feelings and memories attached to everything around her.
I guess the closest a man can come to realizing what its like is to take that football image, go back in all your private things, go back in your collection of souvenirs, find one that's tied into a really pleasant memory from your teen years or your childhood. Stop for a moment, turn it over in you hands. Look at it: really look INTO it. Don't say, "Oh, this is a such and such... I remember that!" Search your depth. Let the images and the experience flow back over you so you are there at that same moment when it happened once again, and you'll know what its like to be a woman.
Its not sustainable for you. You're an animal of practicality, an animal of achievement. We women need you to conquer that universe, tame it and structure it. We can't do that and find happiness at the same time. Yet you can find your emotions and go in and discover memories that are like pearls for you that cannot be stolen: a treasure that's safe. You can do that. But you need US to provide for you a repository for those feelings: the collective heart of our culture - a family album of emotions. That's what we women do for you. You need to know that's there. Just as we need to know that practicality is taken care of. We need each other. And in this we are so much alike, even as we are so different.
November 6, 1991
Sixty-four days and counting.... From the moment I woke up this morning, I felt mean. I was in one of those moods where if anybody got in my way I fully intended to walk all over them. Since I usually like to wear something appropriate to my mood, I checked out my closet but was disappointed to find I didn't have black leather and chains. So, I went to the opposite extreme, wearing a lacey top and pleated skirt with my hair done up like Cinderella.
I went off to work, parked, and waited to cross the street at the light. So here I am dressed like Snow White and feeling like Biker Bitch of the Universe, when all of a sudden I hear this male voice say something behind me. I can't quite decipher it, so I turn around and here is this tall, dark, handsome foreign gentleman. I said, "Excuse me, did you say something?" He stared deep into my eyes and repeated, "You are very beautiful". I couldn't suppress a smile and replied, "Why THANK you!" The light changed and I crossed the street and went to work feeling "very beautiful" all day.
November 7th, 1991
Sixty-three days and counting.... I'm in the PMS portion of my Provera cycle. Last night I woke up about one o'clock in the morning. Suddenly I found myself physically feeling like I was going to die. It felt like my heart skipped a couple of beats and then just stopped for a moment. At the same time that happened, everything went black, I mean it faded out. It wasn't my vision fading out, but my consciousness - like when you go under an anesthetic when your eyes go up in your head and suddenly you're not there anymore. That's what happened: everything went black - almost snuffed itself and then it came back. Faded down and faded back up, all in the space of a couple seconds. I knew I needed something inside. I went out to the kitchen and found a bag of Cheetos. I sat there wolfing down the Cheetos as fast as I could cram them in my mouth, and the salt and the cheese - somehow it seemed that's what my body needed. I came back to bed - couldn't find a comfortable position. So much nervous tension, static energy.
I got the check today from the home loan that gives me the money for surgery. Right now as I stand here, I do not feel a single bit different than David did. I feel like that person moved through time and all of a sudden "poof": here I find myself with boobs, practically impotent, on the verge of having something cut off, and all the time wondering, "Why?" From inside myself looking out I don't see any damn difference - just the same, old me. Why? Why did I do this? What's going to happen to my relationship with Mary? And what's going to happen to my relationship with my kids? What's going to happen when they get married and have their own kids and their own families and there are relatives and in-laws: how will I be accepted? How will it affect my children's ability to get a mate? What detriment might I be? What positive thing? How has this altered THEIR lives? Ripples way the hell beyond mine.... I just don't know.
Then there's this theory Chris and I are writing. We bandy it about and think we have such genius, such incredible insight - a remarkable leap of mentality such as human kind has never made. We explain it to everyone around us at the company. We explain it to our friends at a personal level. "Mental Relativity". We tell them about shifting perspectives, we tell them how to take an outside look at their insides. When we do that, they roll over in ecstasy - the expose their genitals to the universe and say, "Scratch me on the tummy some more!"
No! All of this is just too weird. What does it really buy you when your body can turn against you, just like mine is now. In spite of all the conscious efforts the endorphins in my own brain feed back on themselves canibalistically.
I hope this thing works itself out soon - I really do.... My feelings right now are very, very, very... dead.
I look in the mirror and I see a beautiful, young woman, and I know that is the image I project now. All my responses, the way I stand, the way I talk, the way I move -all of those things are completely feminine now, and yet they seem so normal to me. So inside things have not changed. All my life I wanted to know what it was like to be female, and now that its here I'm not sure I want to know anymore. I'm living the role; I know what that's like. The surgery itself, what's it going to do: the last step I need to take to be loved by a man? I don't know if I really want that because I've never really had it. Just that lousy affair with Andy that time: fulfilling and magic and special as it was, it was fake, it was phony: two transsexuals getting it off together - nothing in it between a real man and a real woman.
God, God, God, it doesn't even matter if I make the transition physically complete. It doesn't even matter if I have XX chromosomes, XY or XXY. It doesn't even matter how my brain was cast; its the knowledge that I have from growing up male - I can't change it without losing my own self. I'll be stuck with that difference all of my life. If I want to be close to somebody, if I want to have a relationship, what do I have to give up here? I have to give up Mary; I have to give up the kids: I have to give up my past. And if I want to share my past with the man I would marry, how could I consider them a normal man if they would put up with a woman who used to be a guy?
And yet, when I look at other transsexuals who are feminine, who have made it, who have pulled it all together, I look at them and I say to myself, "That's a woman." I don't care what they were: they were always a woman inside. They've just discarded that shell and now they've got the proper one. So why can't I turn that kindness on myself? Why can't I accept myself as a woman? Because I don't have any other "me" to compare it with.
If I could remember what it used to be like to think as Dave - to walk and talk as David and compare it to the way I am now, I could see the difference. But I can't see the difference from the inside. It feels like it wouldn't take much to tip me over the edge and right back to the way I was. But if all this is over, will there be no more fantasies? Will there be no more dreams? If the greatest change I'll ever go through is behind me, what will I do for an encore?
I lay on my bed in the evening, look out into the room, and realize how tenuous is my grip on reality. I slip from one way of looking at things to another and come up with so many clever things. People think, "My, isn't it marvelous that she thought of that." But do you know what it does to you to have that ability? Do you know what it is to be separated from the heart and solid of what things are?
To be able to shift your perspective all around anything, every which way you want, inside and out. To look at things so many different ways and hold each one to be as real as the one that is immediately presented to you when you open your eyes - you have no platform to stand on. In all the techniques we talk about with Mental Relativity you have at least one thing you hold solid. Even if your platform is moving you ignore that. You either stand on the boat and watch the ocean or stand on the ocean and watch the boat. One of them is going to be bobbing, but not both. For me, they both bob. Its always been that way too, but now its accentuated by the hormone therapy. Add to that the practice I have had at work in jumping perspectives and it leaves me with no stability in my life at all. I can tell by the fact that I am almost in tears that this thought is what's really bothering me: I have nothing to hold onto.
I've got to find a way to anchor my life. I don't want to do it at "Tara". I don't want to tie myself to the ground, I don't want to tie myself to the company, I don't want to tie myself to financial security and say, "Therein lies my champion, incarnate." No, I want someone to rely on, someone to run interference for me, to protect me from the beast at the door, to keep a roof over MY head. That's what I want: I want my anchor. And I have a sneaking suspicion I'm never going to get it.
Sixty-three days and counting,
November 13, 1991
Fifty-seven days and counting....
Yesterday I mailed a registered check for $500 to Dr. Biber to secure my surgery date of January 9th. Somehow that inspired me, so that today I dropped another check in the mail to a catalog company and ordered my first vibrator. It'll probably arrive before I'm able to use it, but at least I'll be prepared when the time comes.
November 16, 1991
Fifty-four days and counting....
I had this terrible dream a couple of nights ago. It was a nightmare that what has actually happened here is that Dave and Melanie have traded places. Melanie is now in the conscious and Dave is stuck in the subconscious. When Dave was in the conscious, he didn't know she was in the subconscious. Melanie knows Dave's in there, but she won't let him out. Now Dave knows that the surgery is approaching, and in my dream came an image from Robocop 2 where the villain's mind is placed in a robot body and his face is visible on a video screen. At the end of the movie, they kill him by pulling the plug and when they do, the face on the screen becomes distorted with a gaping mouth howling at the universe in terrible agony and anguish as he feels his life ebbing from him, evoking a primal scream. That image has stuck with me since my nightmare, because the face belonged to Dave. I saw him as he lay on the table, trapped in the subconscious, paralyzed from physical action, unable to stop anything, screaming and howling at the universe in agony as they cut his balls off.
November 18, 1991
Fifty-two days and counting.... This is my third day of PMS. I could feel from the very first day it was going to be a doozy. The worst of it started this morning when I took Mindi out for a special day shopping together. I kept getting absorbed in things of interest to me and didn't even see that she was getting tired and bored and that the special day she had been looking forward to was eroding under her dreams.
Then, I came home and Keith began do to things I didn't like. I ended up slapping him once on the head and a couple of times on the back and arm. And then I came back and slapped him again. Sure, it was with provocation, but I slapped my son.
The problem is, he's become such a mean little boy. He really has. He does things mean on purpose. I can't stand this. I think its my fault. When he was four years old, he came to daddy's office for the first time, and he was so proud! I gave him a 7-up and he was so happy. A little while later he accidentally spilled it and a little bit splashed on a tape I had some things recorded on. I knew it wasn't even important material. But I stared down at this little four-year-old face that was already upset because of his accident and I yelled that he had ruined daddy's favorite thing.
So many other times when he wanted to help me do jobs around the house, I would let him help and then tell him how crummy he did: he wasn't good enough.... I ruined him. For the rest of his life he's going to carry that with him. So many times I've tried to undo that, but its too late. Its part of who he is now: it can't be changed. I've screwed up his whole life, and on top of that, I've taken his daddy away from him.
He doesn't have a pal; he doesn't have a role model, and just when he needs it: someone to bridge the gap and take him into the club of manhood. There's nobody here to do it; there's nobody home....
I don't know how I can live with this. I wish I had found that gun two years ago when I was arguing with Mary and thought I was going to lose my family. I wouldn't have had to live through all this suffering. And they could have started over with someone worthy, because I am certainly not.
See what day three of the cycle does for you? Tomorrow is day four, and that's always the worst of them. Tomorrow I go back to work. So after destroying Keith psychologically and spoiling Mindi's special day, I get to go into work and ruin my friendships and my career. I'm really looking forward to it.
The best I can hope for out of life is that I will find happiness, but for everyone else who knows me, it would be better if I hadn't been born. Aside from having brought life to Keith and Mindi, I guess I haven't given them much else. I've taken away from Mary her husband, her hope for the future. She doesn't have anyone to put an arm around her, hold her close and protect her. And so, I think I'll have surgery. And after I've seen what that's like and experienced a couple relationships, its highly likely I'll just find a way to do myself in. Because after surgery, as far as I can tell, there's really not a lot left to live for.
November 19, 1991
Actually, its not as bad as all that.... Its day four of my PMS cycle, and I still feel like the bottom of a bird cage, but I think I'm going to make it through now. After making Mary miserable and Mindi miserable and Keith miserable, I'm cheering up considerably!
I think its pretty clear I have no control during these hormonal shifts.
I'm going to try and make it up to everybody today. For one thing, Keith's bike tire went flat, and I want to take him to buy a new one before I go to work so he can ride his bike while I'm gone. And I'm going to make breakfast right now. I'll make breakfast and then I'll wake him up. All I want to do is make some progress. I don't have to actually get anywhere or accomplish anything, I just want to see some progress.
November 21, 1991
Forty-nine days and counting.... Seven weeks from today I have sex-change surgery to become a woman. The emotional turmoil I've suffered with over the last few days finally came to a head on my fourth day of PMS. I went into the office and with Chris lending a sympathetic ear, I cried a lot, I worked out a lot, and I feel free. Its not that I'm jumping for joy, but I've gotten back to neutral.
November 27, 1991
Forty-three days and counting.... Either there is free will forged by a predetermined universe, or there is a free universe forged by predetermined will. What is the right thing for your self may not be the right thing for your life.
November 28, 1991
Forty-two days and counting.... Its Thanksgiving, and today I have much to be thankful for: my family, my friends, my future.
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