Book Four:

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After Life
by Melanie Anne

Part One: Hell

Chapter 67

Licked by the Flames

October 13, 2005

5:30 a.m.

I’ve been awake for an hour, unable to get back to sleep.  For the past few nights, it’s been the same.

My mind wanders into the future, recoils from what it sees or what it fears, and runs for the past, where it hopes to cower in certain comfort.

But the past has been changed – rewritten by the present – and finding no refuge, no safety, no familiar ground, I lay awake.

Most nights I have simply held out until exhaustion has overcome me, and drift off eventually to awaken alert, but unrested.  Some nights, Teresa has also awaken, or was already awake (haunted by her own demons), and the two of us have gotten up together to talk, to listen, to seek relief from harsh realities and harsher speculations.

But this dark morning, I have arisen by myself, gently closing the bedroom door behind me, and stealing into the living room with the express purpose of documenting or more aptly, venting my feelings in this troubling time.

Hopefully, Teresa will remain asleep long enough for me to drain myself of the bile from my fear and sadness, and hence to return once more to the warmth of our bed, and to arise yet again, exhausted into a stupor of complacency.

So what, then, is on my mind?

Exactly six days from this moment, Teresa will be in a hired car in San Francisco, riding toward Davies Medical center to change her face.  They will break and reset her nose.  They will break and shave the bones of her jaw, and fasten the pieces back together with titanium screws.  And they will saw through her skull, remove her forehead, grind it down, and replace it over her sinus cavity.

The operation will last just over 8 hours.  The ramifications will last a lifetime.

She will waken completely bandaged about her head and face.  The pain will be severe.  She will be unable to eat solid food for a week, and then only soft and mushy things.  She will be exhausted physically and mentally.  Her bones will be swollen for months, and her face bruised for weeks.  She will have permanently lost all feeling on the top of her head.

What need could be worth so much suffering and loss?  What angst could drive her to such extreme measures?  Something very small.   The desire to be seen outwardly as she feels inwardly.

In just short of a week, Teresa will be having facial surgery to remove any remaining vestiges of her male past so that she appears completely female to all whom she encounters.  And more than this, she seeks a Cinderella story wherein she is transformed from the ugly duckling into the beautiful girl.

When she was younger, Teresa was quite beautiful.  I’ve seen the pictures; I know.  But over the years, age has taken its toll.  And now, at 48, though she seems ten years younger to all she meets, the soft tissues of her face are no longer taut with the resiliency of youth.  And therefore, the underlying bone structure of having been born male begins to protrude and to shape and to make itself known.

There was a day, many years ago, when she was called “Miss” even before her transition.  Some inner truth of the feminine poured forth with such intensity, that even when shopping with her mom, still in high school, and dressed as any male would be, sales clerks mistook her for her mother’s daughter.  Her mom commented to her after such encounters, “What is it that you are doing?”

Teresa had no answer for that question then, and doesn’t really have one now.  From conversations we’ve had, her best guess is that she is truly feminine of spirit, a true woman soul, and the energies she gave off, even unintentionally, often got her “read” or “clocked” as a woman before she had made any overt effort to become one.

At quite an early age – seventeen – she began hormones.  She has never shaved, her Adam’s apple never developed, she never had any body hair.  And yet, there came a day (well before I met her many years ago) when she began to get read as a male.

Somehow it snuck up on her.  The transsexual who always thought of herself as a woman, who was oft mistaken for a woman, who transitioned by simply coloring her hair – this soul who made the change so easily from a physical standpoint and had lived for years in her chosen role, suddenly found herself being seen as a guy in drag.

What must that have been like?  I’ll tell you – it’s what I’m feeling now.

But my story in a moment.

When I met Teresa for the first time, I was at home with Mary and the kids.  Teresa had contacted me through the web site I had set up for the transgender community.  We had briefly corresponded, then spoken on the phone.  She was the only other TG woman I’d met that sounded just as “true” as I did in voice.  Her timbre, intonations, pitch, all so genuine, and all so real, straight from the heart without pretense or affectation.  I was completely intrigued (and not just a little bit shaken by my first real competition as the queen of authenticity).

So we agreed to meet.  And, quite honestly, my first impression was, what a gorgeous woman – except for that god-awful huge jaw!

Yes, when I met her, she looked like “Iron Jay” (the character portrayed by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show where they photographically make his already prominent jaw appear even larger.)

But within minutes, under the influence of her femininity, her features seemed to almost reapportion themselves while we spoke.  I didn’t notice while it was happening, but by the time she left, I do recall her face looked different to me.

Well, what happened next, how we came to be together, is another story for another day.  More to the point of this endeavor, Teresa, at this age and in spite of her female energy, can definitely benefit from facial reconstruction.

You see, I was later to find out that all the confidence she exuded in our early days together, was manufactured and false.  She was pulling herself up by emotional bootstraps, while inwardly dying a thousand deaths each time she walked in public.

And as our years together passed, the problem became worse to the point that unless she projected as much of this energy as she could muster, she would be read in an instant.  What a horrid and gradual death that must have been.

And then, she heard about Dr. Ousterhout, the San Francisco surgeon who was performing feminizing surgeries for the community.  She began to investigate, and soon discovered that real hope actually existed.  She learned that she might turn back the clock to a time when she could go anywhere, do anything, dress in any manner, and always, under all circumstances and conditions be seen as the woman she was inside.

Eventually, she planned a trip for us to see Dr. O, and five years ago we drove several hours to keep an appointment with the man.  More details on this will emerge later, but a few points crucial to my inability to sleep need be addressed now.

Suffice it to say that the trip was a disaster for our relationship.  Before our appointment with the doctor, we had dinner with an old friend from the gender community who had been to Dr. O a year earlier.  I had not seen her since.

When we met again, I was stunned.  Rather than being the strong but feminine woman I had known her as, she now looked like a transsexual.  Her eyebrows were so far up.  The strength of her beautifully deep-set eyes had been taken from her.  She went from showing a truly intriguing character, non unlike (in essence) that of Starbuck in “Battlestar Galactica” to appearing as a Barbie doll caught in the headlights.

All that made her interesting had been removed.  All that remained was bland and ordinary.  And all the worse, after having dinner with her, I found that the inner woman had been changed by the surgery to match her new look.  The friend I had known, had died.  And this pale impostor had taken her place.

With that as an emotional background, we met with Dr. O the next day.  Teresa had X-rays taken of her skull, then brought them to the doctor’s office.  He consulted with her and described what he would do to her looks.  She would have her jaw softened, he nose recast, and her forehead changed the same way he had done my (now former) friend.  Teresa, the woman I loved, was going to be lost to me, her character robbed, the strength that drew me to her, taken.  And just as with my old friend, I knew the inner woman would grow to match the outer, and those qualities that defined my love for Teresa would be washed away.

I burst into tears in the doctor’s office.  Teresa, who had so suffered and so needed this, who had come there with such hope and joy, was now dragged down into the depths of anguish because her mate (from her point of view) was rejecting her.

Now two things are really important to note here.  One, Teresa had been completely rejected by her parents when she transitioned.  And previous lovers had been selfish and grasping, using her as their own confidence booster without giving back in return.  So Teresa had come to expect that underneath any kindness was a rug waiting to be pulled out from under her.  Two, I was as surprised as she that I started sobbing.  I had not seen it coming or I might have prepared.  In fact, it took me years to fully understand why it had happened in the first place.

So, Teresa feeling rejected, lied to, and stabbed in the back yet again, and me feeling a certainty that the woman I loved was to be taken from me, we drove back to our home in silence.  I tried to make conversation, to try and understand what had happened, but Teresa was convinced I was just fucking her over, manipulating her, and that I was doing it TO her.  So, she refused to say a word the whole way home – almost five hours of my feeling the weight of this terrible future loss, and the present pain of her rejection of me, her invalidation of my feelings as having any value, and the fear that my unplanned and unexpected outburst would cost our relationship right then and there.

For years, she held it against me.  Oh, yes, we had many fun times and many good experiences when the silent treatment ended and life returned to normal.  And, we grew closer and closer in many ways.  But, whenever “that subject” would come up, her certainty that I had intentionally hurt her, caused her to become angry at me to the point of yelling and threatening to leave me, even walking out the door, and left me in tears yet again, unable to convince her that I loved her, would never intentionally hurt her, and had very real issues of my own that were being ignored.

Now, I don’t want Teresa to come off as an ogre here.  She has suffered greatly at the hands of others, and with a lifetime of that, how could I expect her to believe that I was different.  Through most of the years of our relationship, she has waited for the other shoe to drop with me.  She had enjoyed the good times, but seen them as just the surface, the smokescreen, and calm before the storm.  She had always “known” that eventually I would turn on her and prove that she couldn’t trust anyone with her emotions.  This, of course (from her perspective) was a certainty, as I had shown my true colors in San Francisco.  My love was conditional, and any protests to the contrary were simply excuses designed to draw her in further so that I could make her fall even further and hurt her even more deeply, eventually.

As for me, we never played those games in my family.  Everyone was actually honest about their feelings.  When we had a different opinion, we talked it out.  But no matter how differently we felt about a given issue, underneath it all was the absolute surety of unconditional love that transcended all personal interest and ALWAYS put the other guy first.

So, with my upbringing and Teresa’s upbringing, it is no surprise that we interpreted situations in a completely different manner, and what may have been openness and honest to me, appeared to her as manipulation and maneuvering.

From time to time, the subject of the facial surgery came up, over the years, and each time it caused problems between us.  I couldn’t honestly deny my feelings.  After all, Teresa reminded me so much of my mother, in both look and temperament.  To lose that, to have it wiped clean as had happened to my friend, would be like losing my mother all over again.

But I couldn’t tell her that – she wouldn’t hear of it.  She honestly felt that I was simply working against her and could not conceive that I had some real issues, some real fears, of losing the woman I loved.

Fortunately, at least for our relationship, we didn’t have enough money for her surgery at that time.  And when the opportunity came to buy a house, I jumped at it – not because I wanted it, but because I thought it would provide some material binding that might hold our relationship together, that might hold her to me.

We had many arguments over the years, most if not all based on her assumption that if there was any way to interpret my actions as being selfishly against her, then that must be my motivation.  But with her upbringing and life experiences, how could she think anything else?

In time, though, she began to trust me just a little.  I mean to REALLY trust me, with her deepest most vulnerable feelings.  Sometimes, she would recoil, when she shared something and then felt I had used it against her.  (I can honestly say that I never intentionally used anything against her that she had bared her soul and shared. But I can also see that if I looked at my actions and words through her eyes, how they could have easily been interpreted as doing just that.)

You see, with her life, and with my life, there was actually no chance that we would see things in the same light.  But with love, such things can be overcome, though they take time.  And as the years passed, our fights grew less frequent, and less severe.  Eventually, she stopped threatening to leave me.  She even told me she had never really meant it, but was just using it as leverage to get me to stop hurting her.  Which, as noted, I had never done intentionally.

And yet, if you step on an ant by accident, is in no less dead than if you did it on purpose?  Part of ethics is to not simply fall back on good intentions, but to be proactively aware and considerate so that accidental hurt is minimized as well.  Problem was, my life had been so different from hers, that we didn’t even speak the same emotional language.  And no matter how I walked on eggshells, or how much she did as well, we kept cracking each other’s shells.

But, as I have said, eventually we learned to talk with one another – to really talk, honestly, completely, fully.  And we learned to listen.  We learned to accept that another point of view of the world exists, and though not our own, was no less valid.

In time, Teresa became something of a recluse, refusing to leave the house for fear of being read.  Rarely, but less and less often, she would come down with me to visit my family, would join me on excursions, or would go out on her own to get things we needed.

For literally years, I did all the shopping at the market.  I also did all the cooking, all the bill paying, all the talking to creditors on the phone. For four years, Teresa did not work at all.  She simply holed up and carried on conversations with people in the TG community over the internet.

During this time, I supported her.  But once the house was bought, my finances couldn’t stand the strain.  To meet our needs, I had started my own business.  But the needs grew faster than the business.  And with a few exceptions around Christmas times when our sales were at their highest, I was always strapped for cash, and full of anguish with the constant harassment by the creditors.

Still, I worked very hard, and, this is important, had worked my way around on the subject of her facial surgery to be fully supportive of her effort.  She was going down the drain emotionally, and if that option were taken from her, I was afraid she would simply do herself in.

So, I put my feelings aside on the matter, and promised her I would make enough money for her to get the surgery.  What made it hard on me was that she couldn’t go on without something even more definite than that.  She needed to know WHEN I would have enough money for her to get it.

I was really in a vice grip here.  On the one hand, I was working as hard as I could – putting aside any life for myself, living up in the mountains away from all the things I loved so she could avoid people, not pursuing my hobbies or interests, keeping no money that I made for myself – and all of this for years. But on the other hand, she truly needed a timetable.

I realize this casts her in a poor light, which is not what I want to do.  Please understand the depth of her hurt, the rejections of the past, the feelings she had whenever she went in public and was either read, or was constantly terrified she would be.  How could one even live like that?  But she held out.  So her need to be taken care of and her need for a deadline to look forward to was and is completely understood by me, and fully justified in my opinion.  Otherwise, I would not have tried so hard on her behalf.

But in the end, I was too pummeled by being the only source of income, borrowing money from my wife, from my friends, from my business to the point it very nearly failed on many occasions.

So, Teresa, was offered a job by an old friend, and after three months of my trying to find a way to avoid her taking it, it became clear that there were no other options.  If we were ever to get her surgery, in fact (at that point) if we were even to financially survive, Teresa had to go back to work.

And work she did.  She commuted with her ex-fiancé two hours EACH WAY each and every weekday to the job where they both now worked.  She did this for almost a year before arranging it to telecommute from home.  What a sacrifice!  She had no life during this time, and gave all of her money (as I was) to our family needs, not keeping anything for herself, even though she wanted the surgery so much.

And then something wonderful happened.  Real estate prices in the town we lived doubled over the three years we owned the house.  Suddenly, there was enough money to get her surgery.  And there might even be enough left over to pay off almost all of my $55,000 personal debt, and possibly even some of the other $50,000 I owed the IRS for back taxes.

So, we threw ourselves into improving the property, which was a run-down fixer-upper when we bought it.  We had affected some very positive changes, but much more needed to be done, if we were to sell it for the best price.  But, it was already late Spring, and if we missed the Summer sales season, the real estate market bubble might burst, leaving us with nothing.

Therefore, I neglected my business for three months and worked literally, and I mean literally, sixteen hours a day, seven days a week.  And this wasn’t like washing walls.  This work was putting insulation and dry wall up in a large “bonus room” above the garage.  Over 100 pieces of custom cut dry wall, not to mention plastering it all, sanding it all until I was covered in ¼” of plaster dust (I’ve got pictures).

I stopped going out, only rarely saw my family, became run-down, put on all kinds of weight, and came to look like a guy in drag myself.  And all the time, knowing that I was working so hard to make the money that would get Teresa the surgery that would rob me of the attributes of face and spirit I most loved in her.

Teresa also worked hard.  She put in 8 hours in her telecommuting, and then spent all the rest of her day and night working on the house as well, including both days of each weekend.

In the end, we more than doubled our money (after the typical horror stories of house selling), and that was enough to get her surgery, pay off all but ten grand of my personal debt, not pay anything toward the tax debt, but to have $15,000 left over for my own personal use, in compensation for her $40,000 for facial surgery.  I figured it was fair, since we paid off about $25,000 of debt I came to the relationship with, the rest of the debt paid off was ours.  So, she got $40K to use for surgery, I got $25K of debt paid off, and $15K in cash, same total, forty grand.

And then we had to move.  And then we had to organize the place.  And, as luck would have it, no sooner had we gotten the money, but Teresa discovered that the person at Dr. O’s office who handles the scheduling for surgery had just left for vacation and wouldn’t be back for nearly a month!  So, after all that, she had to wait even more time just to schedule the surgery!  A last little twist of fate.

Now, this time, I was determined not to create the same kind of scene, the same kinds of issues as I had before.  I worked very hard with myself to come to terms with this change that was about to enter my life unbidden.

You see, Teresa had determined that she didn’t was me to go with her to San Francisco for her surgery because she didn’t want to have to suffer under my issues while trying to recover.  She didn’t want her special moment ruined yet again.

But I had worked VERY hard to regain her trust in the months I was working hard to support us, while she was working hard commuting to her job.  And I did.  I didn’t think it would be possible, but I eventually regained enough trust that she agreed I could go with her.

And yet, even as recently as three days ago, she got mad at me for talking about my feelings about the surgery, and told me that not only was I not welcome, but my daughter, who loves Teresa and is flying up to be supportive of her, was no longer welcome either.

Fortunately, that passed, and we are both allowed to be there for her again

You see the depth that Teresa has been hurt by others?  How sorry I feel for her.  Even with all my love and support, her suffering at the hands of others has previously been so great that I still cannot express any negative feelings about her needs, or it is interpreted as an attack.

And so, we arrive at today.  It is now 7:53 a.m.  and I am still typing, eight pages already committed on paper.  And this has brought me no further than to lay the foundations for discussing my issues, my feelings, and the reasons I have been unable to sleep.

Now I can speak concisely and be understood.  So here it is:

I have the following issues:

I used to be considered beautiful myself.  But I am 52 now, and feel like I get read everywhere I go.  But, unlike Teresa, I have very female features to begin with.  Still, time has taken its toll.  And, because I have been so business and work oriented, I have lost that spark that made me seem female to those who met me.  I am run down, ravaged by time, and I give off more male energy than female, these days.

Oh, Teresa doesn’t see it.  She tells me I am beautiful, in fact the most beautiful woman she has ever met.  But I see myself in the mirror and in videos, and I can put those pictures up against earlier ones of just a few years ago, and one looks like a woman and one looks like a man.

Through all Teresa’s self searching, and my support of her, I have lost my own self confidence.  I have lost my sense of my female self, and feel just as I did many years ago when I was Dave.

During our relationship, for years, she would hold me at night, arms wrapped around me.  Only recently did she tell me how painful that was when, in fact, she only wanted to be held herself.  Of course, she had told me she’d rather hold than be held, but that was just for public consumption.  Apparently, quite the reverse was true.

Being held by her made me feel more feminine.  But I must admit that I miss the arms of a man.  Teresa seeks her sense of self from within.  I seek mine in relationship to others.  Of course we all do both, but those are our primary leans.

When I am with a guy, even just talking to him, I feel so feminine by comparison.  Being with a woman, I feel far less so.  Yet I love Teresa, and wouldn’t trade her for any man or combination of men.  After all, they make you feel good, but then you have to live with them.

So, I have been holding Teresa of late.  In fact, I started holding her and coming on to her with more masculine energy some months before we sold the house.  I came to feel that I would be more comfortable fully embracing my male side as well as the female.  And I reveled for a while that I could be my full self with her and be not only accepted, but loved for it.

But now, the roles are reversed. When I was doing all the financial worrying and planning, carrying that whole burden.  When I was the only one working.  When I was in a small town for her benefit where I couldn’t go out and interact as a woman, couldn’t be appreciated for those attributes, and watched my youth and my looks fade over the years, I at least had her holding me to bring some of that back – to compensate.

But now, she feels all feminine inside from my energy while holding her.  And I feel all masculine inside.  I feel like a guy in drag.  I get read everywhere I go.  And soon, she will be pretty.  In fact, based on her current face, she will be beautiful.

And after years of going nowhere because she wouldn’t go with me, and I don’t like going places alone due to my own insecurities and low sense of self worth, and due to being a creature who grew up in a family that loved to share and went everywhere together – after years of not going out together, now that she will have nothing to fear, she plans on going out alone.  I can come if I want, but if I don’t, she who grew up with a distant family, has no compunction about going out by herself and leaving me at home.

Oh, she’ll feel sorry for me, and will try to dislodge me.  But if before when I felt masculine I could still go out with her by my side, now I would look like a guy in drag next to the beauty she is to become.

And, I still will miss those attributes that attracted me to her in the first place.  I love her eyes.  Sure, I could see her doing the jaw and the nose, though all her friends, including friends she has known for over 10 years and just found out about her past, tell her they never suspected, and think she needs no surgery at all.  Yes, ALL her friends think she needs no surgery.  Of course, EVERYONE without fail in the gender community thinks she needs the full package.  And I, I who love her most and have sacrificed so much to that love, would gladly have her do the jaw and the nose, if only she would keep the eyes, my mother’s eyes, the eyes that are the windows to her soul.  But those eyes will soon be gone.  And I better be supportive of it, of I am attacking her.

We’ve actually had that conversation just the other day before our big argument that led her to temporarily banish me and my daughter from coming with her for surgery.  I tried to explain that I have feelings about this too.  And if they aren’t all glee and happiness, it doesn’t mean I am attacking her – it just means I have my own issues, and, goddammit, they deserve attention too.

That’s basically what led to the fight.

But she’s been coming to the understanding over the last few weeks that loved ones of those having facial surgery actually go through the seven stages of grief because they are losing all the secret smiles, the twinkles of an eye, that they have some to associate with deep connection and privileged meaning.

For her, she will wake up and over the course of a few weeks will watch herself become beautiful – the woman she always wanted to be.  She will soon have a self-confidence that, as Dr. O. states in his information pamphlet, she can wake up in the morning to answer the door in a robe without make-up and without her hair done, and know that she will be seen as a woman so strongly, any fear of the contrary never enters her mind.

Whereas myself, I will never have that confidence again.  She goes through a rite of passage.  By surgical means, she has her face altered permanently, and then KNOWS she will ALWAYS be seen as a woman.  But I, I’ve only had a nose job.  The rest of my face is the same male face that’s always stared back from the mirror.  Without that rite of passage, no matter how good I may look in reality, I will never have that absolute confidence that surgery provides.  I will always see myself and wonder how others see me.  She will never have that concern again.

How can I live with this – to have lost my mannerisms and voice use through letting myself go, backslide, revert to a more male form, due to the isolation away from society in her mountain hermitage, due to the ravages of time, due to the comfort zone of being around another TS.

In fact, that is why I ultimately shunned the TS community.  Every day you interact with a TS, you remain one yourself.

So I stopped doing emails, no longer wrote articles, and completely put it out of my head.  And I was happy – for a time.  But Teresa could not let it go.  In fact, she has told me that after her facial surgery she wants to be active in the San Fran TS community.

And this also tears me apart.  I was the first person in the world with the TS web site.  I founded the first TG group on AOL, which became the Transgender Community Forum.  I created the first program on developing a female voice, the first transgender newsletter/webzine, and then I finished my journey, came to know myself, and hung my guns on the wall for the last time.

Then I met Teresa, and in our years together, she invites TS friends over, goes on hikes with them, both alone and with me, talks to them all day long on the internet, took over my TG message boards, moved them to another site, and has become famous there.

What a conflict for me!  She has now become the famous one, I am out of the scene.  She is now becoming the beautiful one, and I am plain.  She can now go anywhere and not be read, whereas I am read everywhere.  She will be out of her shell and going places alone, and I will be cowering at home afraid to emerge.  She is now out of debt, and I still have mine.

And this is my reward for my love and support?  And this is what I reap?  I gave it all way to her, and now she has it all, and I have nothing.

Of course, if she every reads this, she’ll probably leave me.  I can only hope my feelings change.  I try so hard to work with myself.  To go against my nature and be like her.  To not need to be around men to feel feminine.  To be able to be masculine for her and not feel masculine.  (She says I am always feminine, and that is how she likes me best, but if that is true, why I am read so much these days?)

I want to say:  What a wonderful life!  I want to look forward to being two beautiful girls who are deeply in love, go everywhere together, love being involved in the TG community in order to help others, but that’s not who I am.

What I do say to myself is that she won’t want me anymore once she starts getting all the positive attention for her new looks.  And like every other lover she has had, she’ll leave me too.  Her response to this is that my attitude is making that happen.  So what am I supposed to do?  If she leaves, now it is my fault?

My attitude is causing it?  So I have to, what, pretend to enjoy the gender community, to pretend to have self confidence, to always put on happy face or she’ll leave me?  And, she’ll feel justified, just as when someone is about to hurt someone else and says, “Don’t make me do this,” as if they had no control of themselves and were forced to do it because of the other person’s attitude.  If she leaves me, it won’t be her fault.  Not to her.  I will have made her do it.

So these are my fears:  That I will never regain my self-confidence.  That I am actually being read everywhere, and it will get worse, and there is nothing I can do about it.  That I can’t justify facial surgery, so I’ll never have that confidence she has, and that I will become increasingly envious of it and pained by it.  That she will go out on her own and leave me behind.  That she will meet someone else who meets her as she is now, knows nothing of the past, they treat her as she always wanted to be treated, make her feel as she wants to feel, and soon she is with them and gone from me.  That even if she stays, all the physical attributes of her face that I fell in love with will be wiped away.  That all the secret smiles we used to share will be gone because she can’t even make the same facial movements anymore. That I won’t know her through her face because every look, every smile is new, like meeting a new person where you don’t know what a glance means.  That she will be change inside by the way people will treat her differently, so that the person I love is truly gone, replaced by someone else with different personality traits.  That to remain with her I will have to become active in the community again along with her to the point I can never again leave transsexuality behind.

And this is why I have trouble sleeping at night.  And this is why I woke at 4:30 a.m., came out here and started writing at 5:30 a.m. and am just completing, a very concise description of what has been going on in my restless mind at 8:30 a.m.

I hope the future is two pretty and happy girls who love each other very much, tied together with an unbreakable exclusive, monogamous bond, do everything together, go everywhere together, will absolute confidence, a sense of their feminine selves that comes from within, and many happy blissful years, growing old together in happiness and harmony.

Which hopes will be realized, which fears actualized, only time will tell.  And until it does, I do not expect to sleep very well at all.

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