Boiled in Oil
Part Two: Broken Promises
Of Two Minds
September 20, 1993
Here it is, another Monday. Andy and I are settling back in together. Friday night was quite wonderful, with a lot of cuddling and nuzzling, but no expectations to be frustrated. We just had fun together. Saturday Mary, the kids and I went to the L.A. County Fair. We go every year, but I haven't really had fun there nor been able to look back at the trip with fond memories in five years. During the whole transition phase and its aftermath I was rather miserable there for one reason or another. But this time, it was a leisurely and wonderful excursion for everyone.
I know that part of what drives these positive experiences is that I am regaining balance. I had all my successes as Melanie when I was wholly justified. The last year has been almost completely devoted to becoming unjustified for the first time since elementary school. I told Chris that I was trying to "recover my emotional innocence."
One cannot recover intellectual innocence without losing one's knowledge. But the emotions do not work like that. Whereas intellect is a conglomeration, emotion is an amalgamation. Knowledge is a construct of individual pieces of data, connected by their effect upon one another. Emotion is a synthesis of experience that "tunes" motivation. Emotion is the complex pattern of standing waves that represent the sum total of the experiential base. As a result, the overall attitude or disposition of one's life is an interference pattern. That pattern that most closely conforms to the essential information contained in the instinct base programmed into the brain before birth will create the least internal inequity, hence it will tune motivation toward the positive range.
Motivation, surprisingly, is not diminished by a lack of inequity. This is because the mind has built in self-starters that we all feel as desire for something more or different. This is due to the "familiarity factor" that causes the mind to seek different data when exposed to the same data long enough to become overly familiar with it. The Subconscious requires no new information. In fact, it is most content when there is nothing unknown in one's environment. Rather, the consciousness has nothing to do other than moderate the potential solutions for inequity, and if there is no inequity, the consciousness will atrophy from lack of use. This would result in slow and ineffective problem solving routines, lessening survival skills.
Those creatures without a mechanism that drives one to see difference, even when content with sameness would soon cease to exist. That is why the surviving species of human being possesses such a trait. The more the Subconscious becomes content, the more the Pre-Conscious becomes discontent. When discontentment outweighs contentment, the organism responds by moving - a feeling we describe not as "want" but as "desire". This is normal problem solving. However, when we justify, we choose not to immediately respond to the "artificially" created inequity-driven desire, but rather to wait it out in the hope change will come to us, rather that us jeopardizing our security for our desires. Justification is created not by the basic disposition in conjunction with familiarity in the current environment, but is based on familiarity with the results of taking action. In other words, it is our memories of successful and unsuccessful outcomes in previous desire driven forays into the unknown in similar situations that may cause us to hold back awhile and see what happens.
When I started Kindergarten, I was in tune with my disposition and completely unjustified. I always told the truth about what I thought and how I felt. I never considered the consequences of honesty. I never considered hiding how I really felt - hiding how I looked at the world. I was rejected for this immediately. Somehow, most everyone else had learned to justify already. They couldn't take the honesty and ostracized me. I learned quickly to justify. But due to my basic disposition, I did not focus on aggression but suppression of myself - of my true personality.
When I embarked on transition, it was not a process that dismantled justification but redirected it. I became just as heavily justified as before, but now it was geared toward ignoring the opinions of others as strongly as I had once ignored my own. Needless to say, that amounts to a 180 degree shift in attitude and was rather traumatic. Still and all, that shift only got me through.
I still needed to lose my justifications to recover my emotional innocence. To do this required opening myself up to hurt once more. Taking a chance that I would be rejected, and really caring if I was. I have been working on this for several months, and the proof of my success was the different way I responded to Andy THIS time when I felt my relationship was jeopardized, compared to the way I responded with him to the same scenario four years ago when I was with him the first time. I was hurt and mad. I was devastated. I've never felt that betrayed and angered in my life. This is a good thing. It was the key that broke down my final justifications, beginning on that Saturday night a week ago when I cried at Andy's apartment.
Over the following week, the remaining justifications crumbled until I have arrived back home to where I started 35 years ago on the first day of Kindergarten. Now, I care for those around me again. I want to talk about them, not me, when I am in personal conversation. When I work, like now, I am able to fully express myself. This is when I am on stage. I have an audience who has come to read of me. It is okay to ramble on about myself. But I had been doing that in person as well, and that has stopped. Now, I talk of me when I work and focus on others when not working.
Which brings me back to the wonderful Friday night Andy and I had, and the wonderful Saturday Mary, the kids, and I had. I made a conscious effort to keep my mouth shut about myself and to concentrate on their needs and desires. In so doing, we all had the most wonderful times we had in a long, long time.
I went home for lunch after meeting the new girl at the office, Barbara S. I had found our that she and her husband are involved in Native American history and tradition, are into wolves, and also she is enthralled by the story theory. As I chomped on my cheese sandwich (with pickles) it occurred to me that my earlier conclusion that I should talk about myself in my written work, but focus on the other party in personal conversations was incomplete. I had neglected to factor in "common interests".
When Barbara spoke of herself, those things I am interested in were covered, since she is interested in them as well. In fact, if she talked about me, it would've been very frustrating because I would've preferred to hear about what she was interested in, which interested me. So, if one has the gumption for it, as I see it at the moment, one should talk about themselves if there is a common interest and about the other person if there is not.
Thinking some more about the concepts of boredom and variety.... For some time I have wondered what form business and architecture would take in a female society. A couple years ago, in talking with Chris, I was thinking that all the rooms would have round corners - in fact, that the concept of a "corner" might never have been invented. Nowadays, that appreciation seems pretty shallow.
I think the differences between male and female perceptions and conceptions runs much deeper than that at a much more basic level. One level deeper we might imagine that a female business might use "musical rooms" wherein the women would trade rooms every day or week. Each person could add their own touches to the room they were in so that the "feel" of the space one occupies is always changing, leading to continuous motivation. On the other hand, this predisposes the idea that women would have invented "business" rather than creating a pure communist state, or an economy based on sharing. It also predisposes that women would be event oriented, marking time by days or weeks, instead of when the mood struck them.
Putting these tangent thoughts aside for the moment, a deeper appreciation of a female room might be something where the structure reorganized itself from time to time. Although this would at first seem mechanically complex and therefore not elegant in a female sense, it is interesting to speculate how a structure might be made mobile without inefficiency.
Deeper still is the thought that perhaps only living, organic materials would be used to create rooms, so that they grew and changed continuously in a "planted office". A final thought bottoms out the depth of my thinking on this at the moment: is the concept of "room" itself a non-female idea? Would a female society have ever come up with the idea of an enclosed place at all, if left to its own devices? But then, for that matter, would women have formed anything we would call a society? Makes one wonder....
September 30, 1993
My life here at home drags me out of the feminine and makes me feel (although not masculine) something akin to neuter. I don't think male, don't look male, and don't feel with male feelings, but I feel masculine at home. When I was with Andy, I felt all woman. I used him as a crutch. I placed my source of feminine feeling in his hands and he crushed it. Part my fault, part his.
If I knew 100 guys, that wouldn't have happened. If I cam home after feeling bad about Andy and had my own place, decorated as I would have it and no family framework to pull me back into the Dave role, I would not have lost my feeling. But with Andy shutting off my supply of feeling enhancers and under the pressure at home, I found myself speaking more and more like Dave, even in Melanie voice. I think the whole problem I've had with my voice of the last two weeks is due to this.
My tension, my haggard look, all of it - everything, was due to the root of my femininity being cut off!
Before Andy, I had placed my feelings on Chris, who supported me all the way through. I have looked to a man for my feelings of being a woman all along. As a transsexual, you are supposed to know you are a woman and accept that. But there's even more. I think our reason has always accepted that, from the first few days of full-time. But our feelings need to be reminded.
I know many women hate themselves because they define who they are by who they are with. Femininity only exists in contrast to masculinity. But somehow, knowing this gives the control back to me. I define feminine. I define myself. And there's a world of men out there to amplify it.
October 1, 1993
The data is coming in so fast I think I'll go mad! Mental Relativity has so tuned my mind that everything I gaze upon is stripped clean of fog and presents itself in astounding clarity of fresh detail. No matter where I look or cast my mental eye, each subject, object, relationship and process screams to be documented in this new light.
Focusing on a single topic becomes painful, impossible! Too many reflections in the Hall of Mirrors.
Mary called me this morning, just before I left for work. She invited me to her square dance class next week. She had joined to be around men, so I never expected this. She says it would be fun to have "her friend" along with her.
October 4, 1993
As usual, fragmentation of emotion and chaos of thought precede the coalescence of mind into a new fractal stability. I wonder if men follow stability with a chaotic state of mind? For me, the direction I have been heading was unclear to me until this weekend. Only now, as I look back do I see that the wake of my footprints (a walking on water metaphor) has been consistent in its bearing.
I knew all along that a direction was being set. In fact, I knew I was already on it. But I could not perceive it yet. This weekend, I went to the Whole Life Expo in Los Angeles. It is a "trade show" for spirituality and physical balance. There are workshops and lectures and a pavilion of vendors.
What impressed me most was the non-violent, non-aggressive atmosphere. Everyone seemed at ease and seeking peace. I'm sure the mood was only a bubble in the everyday lives of most of us who attended, too soon to pop on the prickly path of urban routine. Still, like a cool breeze on a stifling day, it was refreshing while it lasted.
The specific time in which my desires formed an emotion with a name was during a lecture by a female psychologist on the subject: "Androgyny in the Twentieth Century". Her talk was about relationships as a couple in terms of the masculine and feminine role.
She asked us all if we wanted to balance our masculine and feminine energies. Of course, we all joined in a resounding "Yes!" She grinned slyly and said, "Then get used to being single for the rest of your life."
She went on to explain that people in this era all seek self-realization through self-sufficiency. Men try to cultivate their nurturing feelings and women their rational decisiveness. She stated that it is completely possible to achieve that balanced state. And the moment any of us does, we no longer need anyone else.
If we are both masculine and feminine at the same time, who is there to complement us? If (she continued) we wished to have a relationship, then we had better get off the fence a choose up sides. She described how men or women could be masculine or feminine, and that every couple needed one of each to balance as a twosome. This is true for both hetero and homo sexual couples.
She said that couples with two masculine personalities butt heads; couples with two feminine personalities become mired in inaction. I asked her if it was not true that within a relationship "domains" could be established allowing for role reversals within specific parameters. She noted that was true, but that the domains must be based on a foundation that is a "fall back position" during times of difficulty. When it comes down to it, there must be one masculine and one feminine personality in times of conflict with the masculine making the decision and the feminine supporting it.
She then asked us some questions designed to help us determine whether we wished to be masculine or feminine partners (noting that we could swap back and forth from relationship to relationship, even at the same time if we were seeing two people for example). It became clear to me that I wished to be the feminine personality in a relationship.
And at that moment, I realized that I had been taking the masculine role much too often. She described how career women need to be masculine at work but often forget to turn that off when they go home, and then wonder why they aren't treated as they would like to be. Me: guilty! She described how feminine people want to be respected for their intellect and loved for their feelings, but masculine people want to retain the intellect to themselves and need a feminine person for their feelings. Me: guilty! She described how twentieth century feminine people start conversations, but that draws the masculine person away from their feeling side that needs the feminine person to the rational/language side that does not. Me: guilty!
In summary, masculinity is saddled with responsibility, femininity is saddled with submission. The only escape is self-realization, but that leads to self-sufficiency and the inability to function as a couple.
She asked the masculine people to take an oath: "I promise to put behind me the fear of universal Armageddon, cross the room and TALK TO HER (him)!!!"
The feminine oath was, "I promise not to say a word when he (she) drives past the correct off-ramp!"
During this short lecture, all the feelings I had been struggling with over the last few weeks arranged themselves in a single unified emotion. I knew what I wanted, I knew where I wanted to go, I knew who I wanted to be.
Amazingly, the self-image that appeared in the mist is the same woman I thought of all through my young adult life, and always hoped to meet someday: a magical woman with long brunette hair, lacey blouse and peasant skirt - an artist, musician, a muse with flowers in her hair.
The next day I went to Mervyn's department store. That was yesterday. Today I sit at the office with my long brunette hair wearing a lacey blouse and peasant skirt. I've brought my sketchbook to work today, and there are flowers in my hair.
October 5, 1993
We each have an unlimited supply of time, since no one has ever run out of it in their lifetimes. What does it matter how much we accomplish or experience after we are dead? Better to ignore the passage of time and focus on arranging our resources to the best advantage for our happiness.
The Be Attitudes
Do not be anxious: unless there is something you can do, you can do nothing.
Do not be afraid: nothing will happen that isn't supposed to.
Do not be angry: anger makes the hurt last longer.
Do not be depressed: no one can tell the future.
Be fair: it feels good.
Be happy: it feels better.
Be in love: it feels best of all.
Be yourself: you can't be anyone else.
Female history is not in words or deeds but in the collective disposition of each matriarchal line. I carry within myself my mother, alive today though dead for years. Her essence, her feelings, all that she really was is part of me, as her mother was part of her and is therefore also part of me. The feelings I feel are not generated by me alone but by those women who lived thousands of years ago, supporting their men, struggling to be free. I am the collective disposition of all the women who came before me, all my mothers back through time. The essence of my own life is but a drop in the sea of emotional experience, yet the contribution is uniquely mine. And the sum of all that I have inherited and all that I am is visited to my daughter: a gift she now carries to the women of tomorrow.
The transition from male to female is never really over. Somewhere along the line it just merges with the transition from young to old: another tributary in the river of life.
October 8, 1993
Howdy! And Yeeeeee Hawwwww! I just got back from my first time square dancing! Mary always tried to get Dave to go, but he hated the idea. Melanie (a more experimental type) was very interested. I really had a ball! What a fun evening. I'll tell you, when some of those experienced guys swing you around in a turn with their hand guiding you on the small of your back, WHOA!
Most of them are older, and not to many lookers, but it's the gentle strength that counts! Anyway, I had a grand ol' time, and will be sticking with the class from now on.
Just prior to going to the class, I had a run in with the neighbor across the street. Apparently, Keith and another boy had been playing soccer in the street, and the ball accidentally hit this guy's pick-up truck. The guy came out and started "fast walking" after the boys, threatening to call a black and white. This happened while I was at work. The guy ( a redneck type in his early to mid fifties) apparently referred to me as a "dickless faggot" and a few other choice names.
When I heard about this, Mary and I were just about to leave for class, and the guy was out watering his lawn. So, I rolled down the window of my car, smiled pretty at him and said, "Good evening." Well, he started in on me verbally. He called me a bitch and said I wasn't a woman. So, I told him he wasn't a man. He called me "sir" and "old man" and said we both knew what was going on here. (I think he thought that I believed no one on the block knew about me. I guess he doesn't know that I transitioned here in this house.)
He then said, "Why don't you just get out of the car and we can settle this." I said, "Do you want me to get out of the car?" He said, yes, so I shut off the engine and really surprised him when I got out and walked over to him (wearing my square dance dress). I think he expected me to cower or something.
He kept harping on Keith and me in the middle of the street, but I held my ground. Then he went back to his lawn, and I followed, but remained in the street. We ended up arguing eye to eye, about two inches between our faces. Recognizing his ilk, I decided to turn the tables. I said to him, "America is the land of the free, and if you don't love this country and and believe in that, then go somewhere else."
That startled him, and it also turned the conversation back to something more sane. We finally reached an agreement whereby I would ask Keith to be a lot more careful, and he would keep his opinions about my personal life to himself.
October 11, 1993
"Bastards and Bitches: the Best of our Worst." ( A potential title for something or other.)
I find myself distressed (marginally but increasingly) at the course the final development of the story softwasre is taking. Again, it is a holistic thing, however I can point to several areas of specific concern.
First is the manner in which Barbara is approaching the project. She is so grounded in the male perspective by training that she sees little or no value in a separate female perspective as far as I can tell. Even after I explained my feelings about the gender pronouns to be used in the software documentation, her first work presented to us carried the phrase, "I am using the masculine pronouns to mean both male and female in order to avoid confusion."
The illustrations Chris has shown me today also contain a tremendous left-minded SBOS (Spatial Brain Operating System) bias. We had a long talk about that. My concerns are not so much for the software as for the empowerment that Mental Relativity will provide to women everywhere. As a result, my interests are leading me to begin classes in Mental Relativity in January, just after the software is due to be released. I asked Chris last week to take some time with me and discuss what limitations there may be on my M R activities, due to either company rights to terms I developed at company and with to use or to violations of the essential trust between Chris and myself regarding the usage of M R technology.
I told Chris that my dislike of the illustrations was largely due to the unresolved question of my allowance to proceed with M R in January. So, we talked of my proposed classes. I care for Chris both as a friend and as co-creator of Mental Relativity. Therefore, it was with great relief that I heard from him that there were essentially no limitations to what I might do, as long as it did not usurp the software's story-specific sales base. In fact, he told me that if all Mental Relativity ever did was to empower women to come into their own, even if it did nothing at all for men, he would consider that a success.
Instantly, my trepidation at the proposed illustrations vanished. My concerns now are getting the product out the door, speaking up as the loyal opposition voice of dissent, and preparing for my classes in January. This is it, folks, the roller coaster is nearing the top of the first hill - the big one. From January on its the ride of a lifetime.
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