Book Three:

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Skinned Alive
by Melanie Anne

Part One: Innocence Lost


A Cut Above

March 28, 1995

I have but a few moments to write before I must move on to essential chores. Still, I've been almost reeling under the unceasing onslaught of emotional enlightenments, and felt I must take even the briefest of times to describe what I am experiencing.

The attitude I just expressed toward conveying what I am going through is, in itself, descriptive of what I am going through. Something magical has happened. I am no longer concerned with how much I accomplish, but simply how much pleasure I have trying. I cannot say it is wholly unlike me, which was my first inclination, as it is very much like the new me, although nothing like the old.

I have been napping a lot lately, well actually not napping, but more relaxing. I lay on my bed and watch the clouds go by, and strangely, I do not feel guilty that I am not doing anything productive. I believe I've realized that my potential to produce is infinite: not because I have infinite ability, but truly the reverse! It is that I DON'T have infinite ability that makes the potential to accomplish infinite.

Therefore, devoting my whole self to the endeavor of using my abilities to the fullest dooms me to neglect all other aspects of my being. Yet, this is what I did, believing I could crack the heart of the world wide open and stare into its most guarded secrets as none had done before. And you know, I did that. When I "finished" my work in Mental Relativity, I had seen the deepest meaning that can be seen; I had seen the soul.

But where does that get you? You look deeper and deeper into any subject, and if you see right to the essence of it what you find is a mirror. When you strip away all that makes up what things appear to be, you see beneath it all, yourself. For the meaning we find in everything we observe (including introspection) is created by the very mechanism of our minds. This mechanism lays the foundation of understanding and empathy through the patterns it creates. These patterns form a framework in which to categorize the unfathomable and excruciating paradox of existence.

That anything exists at all is beyond comprehension. The thoughts that surround such a consideration quickly become recursive. So we shy away from that mental endeavor and rather accept the meaning of things as being descriptive of their nature. In fact, their nature is forever hidden from us, masked by the paradox itself. So we reflect on the imponderable that we can sense something, and "reflect" is an apt word. For we order what we see in our own image: the patterns that we can perceive are the patterns that we can create.

Our minds project meaning upon the chaotic. We create context in which closed systems appear to function. Within that context we see something familiar: the shape of our own thoughts. For common life, this is enough. When the uncommon happens, our thoughts are reshaped and we see a different world. Context changes, and reality shifts beneath our feet.

But this is an unending process. There can be not conclusion. Contexts are infinite in nature, and the only certainty is that if we stare hard enough into the depths of any context, we reach the same singularity: we see ourselves. We are the only true meaning beyond all things. And since no matter how we change, we always feel like "us", there is but one truth (albeit constantly shifting) beneath the potential of infinite contexts.

So one is all and all is one, and the old masters knew as much as we can find out.

Seeing this, my priorities shifted. It is important for every mind to make the journey deep enough to see oneself staring back. This is the one true pilgrimage we must make to learn all that can be garnered from this world. I suspect if we do not finish that journey, we will be back before we can move on. That there is an "on" to move to, I have no doubt. The only question is: do we pick up where we left off or start anew each time we must reconsider a world? Does it matter? Not really. What matters is finding that one truth, for it is the ticket on the next train to Evolutionville.

I'm running out of time for chores; I must make haste and finish. I simply want to say that there is no more all-consuming drive for me. I have found the one essential meaning for life on this world. Why am I still here? Silly question! There are so many contexts to explore. Each becomes a new experience, and see at the surface rather that to the core, each is as different as a snowflake.

Life if fun again, filled with wonder: not wonder at why or how, but what and when.

April 11, 1995

Reply to a letter from a transitional human being:

Thank you for your letter, Mariah. I'm truly sorry to hear that you are in that "in-between" stage where the troubles seem insurmountable. Please take heart in knowing that is just an intermediate stage. In fact, the very intensity of pain you are currently feeling is the actual "landmark" that you are almost through the worst of it.

Every gender person with whom I have ever spoken who now finds happiness and fulfillment, had to pass through that stage. Part of what causes that pain is the belief (we have all experienced) that we must somehow decide if we are TV or TS, if we should stay all masculine or jump to being all feminine.

Believe me, those views will change. It won't seem like they can for a while, however. Each and every one of us who is now happy with whatever we have found ourselves to be was unable to see the "gray scale" aspect of who we are, who we could be, until AFTER we got through the painful part that you are in right now.

So, although you can't see it, take my word for it. Now that you are so focused upon your discontent, that very focus will drive you forward, out of the dark and into the light. What you will find is that defining oneself is no longer important at all. What people think you are is not important. The only thing that matters is if they like you, and you like them.

"Fitting in" is not the same thing as "being the same". People, cliques, or clubs that "force" others to conform to a rigid ideal leave no room for the truth of who each individual truly is. But people, cliques or clubs that are drawn together by a common interest, yet not only allow but revel in the wonderful variety of each individual are the strongest and most fulfilling.

You will find that at some point you suddenly realize you haven't thought about whether you were male or female, masculine or feminine, TV or TS, Gay, Bi, or Straight, for weeks. Instead, you've been too busy just being yourself to worry about it.

When we fear what others think, we try to define what they want. We force ourselves to act contrary to our natures and establish strong relationships with those who accept us for our mask. What we don't realize is that there are just as many people out there who hate us for our mask yet would accept us for who we truly are.

To take off the mask is to expose ourselves to initial ridicule from those who thought we were someone else. But once we look upon the world with our true face, those who like that face gravitate toward us, and a new circle of friends develops. The only difference is that THIS time, WE like who we are as well.

Nothing can remove the pain of this transition. It is the rite of passage that makes us worthy of the joy with which we shall be rewarded. Yes, it will hurt, but see it not as the sum total of your future, but as a process of purification through which you will pass into the life you were meant to have.


June 15, 1995

So here is how it stands. My quest began at age four or five. I was swinging on my jungle gym in the back yard. It was an overcast day, and I still remember the moment clearly, even after all these years. Every time I reached the peak of my swing, the slate gray sky would fill my field of view so that nothing but the neutrality was visible. I can still recall thinking to myself, "If I was in nothing, would it be gray or black?" This is how I thought as a child. This was my blessing and my curse.

For all of my life I have sought to understand that paradox: is "nothing" the mean average of opposite extremes or the absence of one in favor of the other? Now I know. I have found the answer. It can't be described in a sentence for it is the emotional sense of the correctness of a logical conclusion. But I have found it, and I can feel it.

The answer could not come from looking only at the physical, but only through also considering the effect of the observer and the effect of the physical upon the observer. Taken together, the paradox appears neither in one nor the other but as a manifestation of the relationship between the two. This is as far as the mind is capable of fathoming. To go any deeper would require removing one's "self" in order to make the necessary room for the remaining material one would need to consider. If the mind becomes filled with knowledge, there is no room left for thought.

So, the maximum understanding has been mine; and egotistic claim to be sure, yet nonetheless true. I have documented on audio cassette tapes recorded over the last three years all of the steps necessary to arrive at a "Unified Field Theory" of Mind and Universe. The problem is: I cannot rest until it is documented and made public.

As I look back over my life, I realize this has been the hidden drive behind all of my poor decisions that undermined a truly fulfilling life experience. First I was driven to find the answer, simply because I knew I could, and because I believed that nobody else could. It has been my experience that this view was correct. For some unknown reason, I have been born as a mechanism of insight and destined to peer into the depths to the bottom of the pit, to risk sanity and the will to live, and to triumph over the inner frontier so that I might come back to tell the tale.

I've stumbled under this weight of destiny yet known not the nature of the burden I bore. It seemed to me I was unliked by others, when in truth I had no time for them. It seemed to me I was rejected as a misfit, when it was I that did not consider anyone else my peer. I felt I was deprived of resources when all I needed was motivation. I thought I could not feel love, when I had simply thrown all my thought into my reason.

So here I am, 42 years old, a post-op transsexual still living at home with wife and children: a story guru and author of a new theory of communication with a message of unified theory, an economic windfall, and a drive that leaves no room for fulfillment until satisfaction is achieved.

And that is the center of my motivation and the heart of my discontent. I cannot rest until I have documented and distributed my work. I have the answers human kind have searched for in thought and feeling for millions of years. It may be thousands of years before another will stumble upon them. What a waste, what a shame to abandon this knowledge for selfish, personal joy. What a disservice to myself not to abandon it.

So, I have reveled in my work unless it involved activities other than documenting my findings. Then I felt constrained and hindered. I have yearned for a meaningful relationship, yet balked at any demands on my time or attention. I married because not much was expected of me. I worked because they expected too much.

The source of this friction remained unknown to me until this very day. I have sensed the coming knowledge of it through tears and exhaustion, inspiration and euphoria. I have become manic/depressive workaholic/lazy as I vacillated from reason to emotion, drive to desire.

Through my pain I have now seen the truth of myself to add to my truth of the universe. It came in a discussion group tonight: the monthly deep-theory meeting at Screenplay Systems. We always have six or eight attendees, and Chris is always there as well. This is the first evening he has been away, as he is on vacation. And, typical of the destiny moments of my life, instead of six or eight, only one showed up, and someone new at that!

So I explained the model of the story theory, the future of the theory, and the model and future of the Mental Relativity model all in the space of two hours. When it was over, something felt different. When I arrived home, I saw what I have said above. And I also realized that I did not, could not, give up my work for my heart until I had documented it all.

How long would this take? Another forty years? I have generated so much raw material, it must surely take that long just to untangle it all. What if I hired a small army of assistants to organize the material? When could I afford that? What if I through myself into the creation of a new document rather than editing the old, so that I might more efficiently secure the information I have uncovered? That must take a year and a half at least! Not too much time compared to that already spent, yet my son will be leaving home for college in a scant two years. If I channel my resources into this project, will it not be too late to share a life with him before he is gone? Must this also be sacrificed to the god of understanding?

And then my own science came back to me: the relationship between space and time and the choice we each have in choosing one over the other. Through my training as a man, I have learned to approach a project linearly: to determine the scope and the requirements and then throw one hundred percent of my resources into the effort until the goal is achieved. Until that moment, nothing is considered accomplished, and no incidental pleasures may be taken. That has been my working credo for as far back as I can recall. But it is not the only way.

From a holistic perspective, it is more important to outline the project, achieving some degree of success much more quickly. Then, one re-evaluates the depth at which the issue must be resolved and fills in another level of detail. Each complete circuit around the concept demands a plateau, a place to rest, during which re-evaluation occurs. This allows one to fine tune the degree of effort to the sophistication required, and also eases the single-mindedness as one's motivation lessens with each completed shell.

I saw my quest as a great length of yarn I had to spin from scratch. Once spun, I had to describe its nature inch by inch. Such is the linear approach. But from a holistic approach, I could wind that yarn into a ball. A sphere requires only six points to document its surface to a given degree of resolution. Since everyone is looking in a whole different arena, simply outlining the concepts of Mental Relativity provides more of shock to the known system than all the remaining details would do when combined.

From a linear standpoint, nothing would be proven until the last link was in place, and I must put my heart on hold still until that final brick was placed. But from a holistic position I can document the essentials in a week or two. That will accomplish over half of the impact I will have even if I were to work on the details for the rest of my life. So, the choice is to pick linear or holistic, in a sense to pick between creating a connection to existing science or defining a completely different science.

Once I saw this, the answer was simple. It was not the answer that had eluded me for so long, but the question. So, I begin in this entry to act upon my choice. I have laid out in simple words a few of the essential concepts of Mental Relativity, for those who would understand them. In the course of the next several weeks, I shall document more material and in more precise manner. And I fully expect that each day will find my heart opening more, my interest in relationships increasing steadily. Already I can feel my desires taking on an unfettered life with every word I type.

The time has come to end this. The time has come to start.

June 30, 1995

I returned home from electrolysis this morning to discover that Chris had left a message that I should look at the front page of the Los Angeles Time business section. I opened the paper and there, centered above a major article, was an over-sized, full-color picture of Stephen, our company President, and the story software.

There were no other pictures on the page at all, and the article described the three software programs that compete with us as being cut from the same cloth... and, then, there is our story software. The article put us in a league of our own. Suddenly, in one stroke, here in the hotbed of the writing industry, our software is touted in one of the two largest newspapers in the country as the premiere story-writing tool. Not bad.

No sooner had I got off the phone from congratulating Steve and Chris, but our marketing department called to make sure I would be into the office in the afternoon. Why? Because NHK, the Japanese television network equivalent to NBC, is coming in to interview us regarding the software.

Well, not a bad year: In January, Writer's Digest magazine tested 24 different software products for writers and our story software was the only story development software rated as "Excellent". Also in January, the national magazine, Wired, ran a full page article touting the virtues of the software, written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author! Since then, we have done a number of local interviews and had articles appear in several publications. But, the front page of the business section of the L.A. Times AND the biggest television network in Japan all in the same day ain't nothin to sneeze at.

It's becoming that kind of life though. For example, I spent three days last year working with man who produced the television series, Miami Vice, and his writer, using our software to work out some story problems in a script to star De Niro and Pacino. At our big movie industry convention of the year, the writer of The China Syndrome stopped by our booth to kiss my hand. (I tend to believe it was for the help I gave him with the software, rather than for my good looks.) Then, last week, the Editor of the motion picture The Fugitive, asked me to join him for two screenings in the same evening. One, at the Writer's Guild, then (after a brief fast-food dinner on the fly) another at he Director's Guild. I have been helping him as a story consultant for his upcoming directorial debut.

Seems that things are kinda goin' my way.

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