Book Two:

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Boiled in Oil
by Melanie Anne

Part One: The Promised Land

Chapter 28

Living in Fantasyland

April 4, 1992

Spent a real horny day (if you'll pardon the vulgarism). I could barely keep my mind on my work. Seems that this happens every month in the 5th or 6th day of the 10 day Progesterone cycle. Lasts until a couple days after I go off the Progesterone. Fortunately, tomorrow is my support group meeting. Who knows but what I might get lucky!

It seems everything is falling behind while I work on the story software project. I've been working on the math for the algorithms the last few weeks, verifying and expanding upon the basic equations of Mental Relativity that drive the software system. (By the way, we had a full page ad for the software on the back cover of the Daily Variety the day they announced the Oscar winners!)

The programmer we hired to write the thing has not been working out. He couldn't bring himself to start on a program based on a system for which he had no proof that it worked. He is extremely hard-science based. Now, most of MY work on this thing over the last two years has been in conceptual models. These are as accurate as any math, since each aspect of the model has a basis in math. But rather than being able to grasp the holistic view directly, the programmer needed a male logic style of step by step math progression. So, I worked that out for him. THEN, I had to meet with him separately from the rest of the development group, praise him for how far his scientific grounding and knowledge exceeded mine, tell him how much in awe I was of his abilities and how much poor, little, confused me needed him to set me straight. Then, he took me seriously. Now he is "inventing" the same work I did two years ago and thinks it is HIS idea. Men!!!!!

April 9, 1992

Yesterday I started work at nine in the morning and finished up at midnight! Today was another presentation of the writing software - the first time we have tried to teach the dynamics of the structure.

Speaking of clothes... I bought a couple of new items at the Contempo Fashions 75% off rack. One was a size 10 pair of spandex skin-tight pants. I always wanted to be able to wear something that form-fitting without worrying about what they outlined (if you know what I mean). Boy, did I feel sexy wearing that to the Academy Awards party a girlfriend threw. I had a bright red vest and a black lace-edged top, with a white and black bead necklace. God, it's great to be female!!!

I just gave a call to the first guy I ever had a relationship with, just before going full-time. It's funny how I never thought of that as a gay relationship. I'm not really interested in sex with him now, but just want to get a little closer, so we're having lunch on Monday.

I do feel the lack of a man these days, but not in a negative way: more in a positive desire than a negative want. I think I'm going to have to start making myself known at some social groups (Sierra Club, poetry readings, film and sci-fi symposiums, etc.) It's not the erotica so much as the feeling of being attractive to someone and having him take care of me a little.

Dilating is down to once a day with no loss in depth. Oh, by they way, today is the 3rd month anniversary of surgery. Funny, but it seems a lot longer than that. In fact, it seems like I have been like this all my life. And it sure feels good.

I had lost touch with my body during transition so as not to have the constant reminder that I wasn't who I was "pretending" to be. And it has taken these three months to slowly open my clenched eyes and realize that now I AM who I wanted to be. And every day, as this happens, I get more and more in touch with my new body. It is so magical, so wonderful. I feel like I'm living in Fantasyland!

Just walking into work, wearing a new dress, sashaying a bit extra when I pass a cute guy, giggling and smirking and hugging and pouting, and tasting all the forbidden fruit for womanhood that men are denied: all of these commonplace things to me are so special, so fulfilling, that sometimes I think I have reached my capacity to feel good!

April 12, 1992

I have a bit of the "downer syndrome" this week. A few months ago, Chris said he thought Keith needed an adult male role model in his life, and volunteered (if I wanted) that he would be glad to take Keith on the occasional outing. Kinda like the Big Brother program.

Well, Chris was busy at work until this last week, when he suggested that he and his brother would like to take Keith to Venice beach for the day today. Mary and I had talked and both realized the necessity of this kind of role model for our boy. He will be 13 in May, and needs (as Robert Blye says in "Iron John") someone to guide him in the rite of passage to manhood. Someone who shares the "fire in the belly".

As a child, I NEVER understood what drove the other boys to do the things they did. I was a quick study, though, so I learned to fake it all pretty well at an early age. But I was just going through the motions. I never really "got it". And I felt completely rejected, totally the outsider in what was supposed to be my own peer group.

We got our first video camera when Keith was three. The first time Mary used it, I asked her to video me playing football on the front lawn with Keith. I did this because I never played football with him and wanted him to have a record of his daddy playing football with him when he was older, so he would know he was loved. Stupid, isn't it? But even now, I feel like I was never a dad or a mom, but just a parent.

When I hit puberty, the other boys saw the light. I just got more confused. I didn't see the light until a couple of years on estrogen. Now Keith is making that change. He is going to that place I cannot lead and cannot follow. I will never know what he finds there. And it feels like the same old rejection again.

I have girlfriends now that I can share with, and I feel more the woman for it. But I still feel like I am letting down my son. Like I am handing over the responsibility for his education to become a man to Chris. And I am.

But the rotten part is, I KNOW I haven't a clue how to relate to the post-pubescent male. I never was one. All this makes me hurt and confused and guilty and sad.

When Chris picked him up today, I cried as soon as he was out the door for about half an hour. I called up a girlfriend and she understood, but a woman only has to give up her child to a wife, not to ANOTHER dad!

I don't like how I'm feeling right now.

April 16, 1992

In the last two weeks I have given up all the old parts of me that I just couldn't part with but weren't appropriate. You know, like when you fill up your garage with stuff you'll never use, but is too good to throw away? Well, that little trip that Keith took with the boys was the catalyst that pushed me the last step into transition.

You see, as long as I maintained certain motivations or methods of thinking, I was keeping the door open to going back to being Dave. There were a lot of things I liked about Dave. In fact, there were a lot of things a lot of people liked about Dave. Some of those could be integrated, but some were simply no longer appropriate. And yet, in and of themselves, they were perfectly wonderful viable aspects of my old self.

Getting rid of them? No could do! But Keith's little trip made me face all that: that some perfectly good things had to go, or I would never be able to think of myself as a woman. So, Sunday night, I did not go to bed. I just stayed up all night, went to work the next day, then went to bed Monday night for the first time in 36 hours. Why? Because I spent all that time gently feeling which parts of me had to go, embracing them, pointing them away from me and giving them their freedom.

Like toy sailboats, I watched them recede. Then, being more and more tired, my consciousness shrunk from exhaustion to the point I lost track of the little toy boats. When I awoke Tuesday morning, I didn't not know where they had gone. In fact, they had vanished so thoroughly that I could not remember what was in them. I knew I had sent part of me away, but I just couldn't remember which part. Still can't. And so, I cannot mourn its loss.

As soon as I awoke, I knew I felt myself to be a woman. Not an approximation, not a pretender to the throne, but a woman in every sense of the word, as much as any genetic female that ever breathed.

At work and with friends, the results were immediate. I found myself completely unselfconscious in conversations with girlfriends or hugging a male former co-worker who came by to visit. My relationship with Chris was immediately affected (and not for the better, I might add). This closest of friends was now "one of them" and somehow not attuned to my feelings anymore, in the space of a couple of days.

April 20, 1992

Interesting how, when the smoke clears after surgery, you begin to see all the potentials in your life that you never considered before, and also the inequities you never noticed before. I find myself drifting farther and farther away from my male friends, including Chris, the person to whom I had been closer than anyone. Somehow, I just don't share much common ground with men anymore. I can't quite figure out if it's something to do with the post-op hormonal changes, or just spending so much time in the new role, or making girlfriends, or finding myself, or what. But it is a very real experience.

These days, I can't fathom what he is thinking or how he feels. I seem to remember that I used to, but that could be a delusion as well. Just how did I used to feel anyway? I just can't seem to remember. Was I happy most of the time? Was I sad and hit it? Did I think a lot about being female? Was it hardly ever in my mind? I really can't remember. That bothers me, but it also makes me so much more aware of how I have lost touch with maleness. I know I've lost something, I just can't remember what.

On the other hand, I find my relationships with women are beyond improvement. I am simply accepted (as far as I know) as one of "us". The issue of gender seldom comes up. When it does, it is like even they had forgotten about my past. A while ago, a girl at work said she had never been in Girl Scouts. I said I hadn't either. A half a minute passed before her mind told her there was something not quite right there, and she turned to me with a smile and said, "Oh, for heaven's sake!"

About guys as romantic interests: What a weird thing to be sleeping with Mary without "sleeping" with Mary. And, not even knowing if I want to. I can imagine sex with other women, and I can certainly see which ones are attractive. But those thoughts never occur to me when conversing with them. On the other hand, I can't seem to hold a conversation with a guy, even old friends, without wondering what he's like in bed.

I feel so much different from the men now. I look at their intensity toward completing goals. Sure I have goals, but all mine are more like directions I want to move in. Theirs are more like all-consuming end products, where nothing matters unless it gets them there. How can you relate to that?

April 22, 1992

I met a wonderful writer on America Online the other night and carried on a great interactive conversation with him for nearly an hour before my former self entered the picture. Then, he politely withdrew and I haven't heard from him since. I don't know whether I should lie to these online acquaintances or just make more opportunities to meet people who don't care.

Tomorrow is another story theory class. I'm really getting sick of working on it because I am not getting what I want out of it yet. What I want is fame, plain and simple. I want to be a "personality". I want my own talk show, dammit! In 1977, I spent hundreds of hours writing and promoting my first screenplay, taking it all around town with models of the sets, sample audio tapes, original commissioned artwork, etc. But nothing ever happened. In 1979, I spent a year and all of an inheritance I had and also the death benefit from Mary's mother to make a low budget feature. No fame, no money. In 1981, I worked on a feature documentary for next to nothing for another year. It was never realized. In 1985, I started a video duplication company: lot's of work, little money. In 1987 I made Cincinnati Bones, an anti-drug film, but they did not put it up for awards and I lost eight thousand dollars making it. In 1989 I worked for one third my normal rate daily until five in the morning on the promise of a feature film to direct. It fell through. In 1990, I edited a feature called "Social Suicide" for ten thousand dollars wage for the whole year and put in eighty hour weeks including one span of twenty-four straight twelve hour days, eating lunch and dinner at the editing console while I worked. It has never been released. Now, I'm putting in long, frustrating hours on the story software... making enough to get by, barely, although it is more than I have made before, but with the high cost of surgery I have nothing to spend on myself. And the fame is still "in the future."

I'm really getting burned out. I mentioned it to Chris and he called the company Prez in to cheer me up with news of what they were trying to set up for me in the fame department. By the time he was finished, I started crying 'cause they just didn't understand what I wanted. It took me half an hour to get myself together. After dinner, there were were again, working until eleven p.m.

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